This week, we are blessed to have Cynthia Thornton and Greg Ogden owners of Green Girl Studios grant us the jewelry artist interview.
Green Girl Studios has beautiful silver and lead free pewter beads, pendants, clasps and more on their site . They have beautiful nature and mythical imagery such as mermaids, castles, angels, harpies and other lovely things. Also now available are prints of Cynthia’s tempera paintings. I am in love with all of them, especially ‘The Messenger’ and ‘Walk a Mile’. Please visit the site and buy something to add a touch of their whimsy to your own jewelry designs.
I know alot of people already know your background, but for those who don’t==How did you start doing jewelry as a business?
I started when I was still in art school- I discovered ojime (tiny japanese sculptures) and began making my own miniature sculptures out of clay. My professors encouraged me to cast my work to sell to galleries, so I made five designs and began selling them around town. Now we have over two hundred designs and our work can be found all over the world.
Every artist has a personal ‘creative process can you explain yours?
Greg (my husband and partner) and I always start the same way, in our sketchbooks, we draw loads of sketches in all sorts of mediums (pencil, pen and ink, watercolor or colored pencil) till we are pleased, then we carve a master from wax. This wax model is then cast in the lost wax casting method, the silver piece that emerges isÂ the master, from this piece we make multiples. Production cannot begin without the hours spent conceptualizing in our sketchbooks.
When people start doing jewelry, they tend to try a lot of different things before settling down to something that resonates with them, tell us
how hasyour jewelry work changed since you began?
I think our work has matured along with us, I began by making things I liked, animals or forms that intrigued me. Now, I consider the message, the symbolism and how it will work in jewelry.
How many hours a week do you spend in the creative side of your business vs… the business side?
Counting hours would be difficult, its different depending if a show is near or not! The mornings are spent like this: Greg takes care of business and production, I take care of our daughter. Then we spend the afternoons together, drawing, taking walks, going to the bookstore- this is after a big show. Before a big show we produce work till we can hardly see straight. More time is spent ‘working’ (because we are workaholics) then ‘playing’ but this could be that we enjoy the work.
What inspires you creatively?
We love books. We read a lot. I can look at art and nature books all day! Craft books are endlessly entertaining and folk lore and fairy tales are what we live on. Greg reads to us almost every night, its our favorite part of the day.
Do you have any big/exciting news or different directions for yourbusiness this year?
We have lots of new work to debut at The Best Bead Show and also at The To Bead True Blue show in Tucson this February. We will also have some one of a kind pieces, which is quite a change from production
Where do you sell at primarily-website, stores, shows, etc?
We sell mostly to stores, then online sales and shows make up the rest of our income.
Who are some of your favorite artists and crafters?
We are inspired enormously by Anne Choi and Bob Burkett, two of the most amazing metalsmiths whose work is collected worldwide. They also happen to be exceedingly kind and supportive of emerging artists. Their assistance has helped us become successful which is uncommon in a business as secretive as the jewelry industry.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested doing jewelry as a business?
My advice for starting a business is to make what you love, what moves you, what makes you happy, but also be receptive to change, this flexibility will keep you in business. For example, if you have a line that sells well, keep making it, but don’t ignore other ideas you may have because you have something that works. Expand, try new things, be brave and let it grow following your creative instincts.
Thank you Cynthia for your interview!
By Barbe Saint John