Thursday, January 5, 2012

Studio Spotlight - Linda Landig, Artisan Jewelry

If you’ve not seen the work of this talented Pacific Northwest artist, I’d love to be the one to introduce her to you. I’ve been getting to know her over the last several months and was first impressed with her gorgeous work. You can see the beauty of it in her fabulous photos, but if you have the time to check her blog, her ArtFire shop and her website you’ll be astounded at all she does! I asked her the following questions to which she replied thoughtfully and articulately:

Your jewelry is beautiful, how would you describe your work?
I design strung and wired artisan jewelry. All of my work is one-of-a-kind or limited edition jewelry, with a focus on color, design and craftsmanship. I often feature artisan made beads and pendants. My tagline sums it up: Luscious color. Lasting quality.

When did you decide to become an artist and what transpired to make that decision?
I’ve always loved jewelry and I had a rather large earring collection. I was an elementary school teacher and the principal used to call me the earring lady! I was going through a hard time personally, and I decided that I needed something to take my mind off my troubles, so I enrolled in a metalsmithing class at the local community college. I figured that since I loved jewelry so much, maybe I could learn how to make it. I worked with metalsmithing for about 8 years. Then I dabbled in basketry, hand dyed silk painting, floral arranging and eventually beading. Once I tried beading, I never looked back!
Why have you chosen jewelry as a medium and what runs through your thoughts as you work on a piece?
As I said, I always loved wearing jewelry, so I decided to try making it. When I’m designing a piece of jewelry I strive to create interesting color combinations and varied textures. When people stop at my booth at fine craft shows, they often comment on my use of color and unique designs.
I often incorporate artisan beads, pendants and components in my jewelry. I see the finished jewelry as a collaboration of artists. The artisan bead or pendant cannot stand alone, so my job is to highlight its qualities and give it a platform to speak to others.
My designs are most often rustic, tribal or contemporary. I am, personally, not attracted to the vintage or romantic styles that are quite popular at this time.
Where and how did you learn your process?
I’ve taken classes, read books, studied bead magazines, learned from designers that I’ve met online and experimented a lot.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am often inspired by designs I see in bead magazines. There may be an unusual color combination that really excites me. I never copy the designer’s necklace, but will do something entirely different that incorporates the colors that caught my eye. I’m also inspired by the artisan pendants that I use. Often an inspiration will come from a source completely unrelated to jewelry. I recently sold a yellow and gray bracelet that had been inspired by the colors in a couch pillow I saw in a magazine! I cut out color inspirations and keep them in a scrap book. I also “pin” color inspirations on Pinterest.

Your studio practices...are they messy or neat?
True confessions: mostly messy. That is, my work surface is always a wreck. But there is an inner order. All my beads are organized in drawers by color. I have an awesome antique Hamilton printers cabinet where I have organized all my art beads, my fanciest gemstones and pearls and all my seed beads.
When is your favorite time to work or when are you the most productive?
I’m a notorious night owl. I write my blog, post new work to my online shop and promote my work on Facebook and Twitter during the daytime, but most creative work takes place at night.

What artists have influenced you, past and present?
My mother was very artistic and attended art school for awhile in her 20’s. A couple of her sculptures were on display in our house. When I was young, she often took along a sketchbook when we went on vacation. My mother had a huge collection of art books. I grew up pouring through big coffee table sized books on Botticelli, Renoir, Van Gough, Gauguin, Georgia O’Keefe and others. I always thought that art was a valuable pursuit; I just thought I hadn’t inherited any talent. My brother was the obvious art talent in the family.
Where do you live (your surroundings - city, suburbs, country?)
I live in western Washington State, near the state capitol. We have a home on 5 acres of land, which includes woods and a protected wetland. We often see great blue herons, deer, raccoons, owls, rabbits and eagles. I love it here.

What is the favorite piece/series you’ve ever made?
Oh man, that’s a hard question! The "Blue Curve Necklace" would certainly be among my favorites.

What are your thoughts on designing custom jewelry?
I have done two custom orders through ArtFire and frequently take custom orders from friends. I designed the bridal jewelry for a friend of mine last summer and am currently working on some bridal earrings for another friend of mine.
When you’re not working in the studio what are some of your favorite haunts or activities?
My husband I like to travel and have been to Europe, Central American and Korea multiple times. We visited China two years ago. I also love floral arranging, being in nature, reading, playing with my dog and spending time with family and friends.
Does your family play a role in your work?
My daughter, Naomi Landig, is a talented metalsmith. Her work is very different than mine, but it’s fun to share an interest in jewelry with her. My husband and my father are my cheer squad. They are both so supportive!

What advise would you give someone just starting out in your field?
I’d tell them to fill their heads with jewelry, from magazines, TV, blogs, jewelry shops etc. Then start trying things out. Start small and build your skills. Anyone can string some beads on a string, but you don’t want to be just anyone. Don’t be in a rush to sell; just play with different styles and techniques. Eventually your own personal “voice” will emerge. When you’re ready to challenge yourself and move outside your comfort zone, swallow your fear and go for it.

Your blog is lovely and informative - how often do you post and how do you carve out time to keep it current?
Thank you, I’m glad you enjoy my blog! I usually post 2-3 times a week. I wish I had a solid schedule, but alas, I don’t. I’m mostly retired from a career in elementary education, so I have more time now than when I was younger. But there’s no question that blogging takes a lot of discipline. I enjoy the writing part, but find uploading the pictures and adding links for everything to be quite tedious. I love getting comments – it makes it all worthwhile!

Where & how do you market your work?
My work s available in my ArtFire shop
Here are links to other places where I promote & discuss my jewelry:
Have I left anything out that we should know about you?
I once kayaked, alone, through a thick maze of mangroves that were infested with caimans. It was my first time in a kayak. I got lost in the mangroves. And I lived to tell about it!
Thank you so much Linda, it has been my pleasure sharing your wonderful work and getting to know you.

Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Steider Studios


Dana said...

Great post and I learned a lot about a fellow artisian here in the Pacific Northwest. Okay, but Linda is your beading desk always that clean.... LOL.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Love your work Linda! Wonderful interview!!!

Rachael said...

I love the 'earthy' look and colourfulness of your pieces. They are not at all cheap or brassy looking but tasteful and expensive looking without being 'bling-bling glitzy'.
Sounds as if you have a very full and interesting life; thank-you for the insight, it was interesting.

Melinda Orr - BANDANA GIRL said...

Terrific article....great to get to know you a bit better....floral design was my first passion...then to jewelry....I design during the day...go to sleep early and up early... Beautiful designs! :-)

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Yay Linda! You are an incredible and inspiring lady!

Shadow Dog Designs said...

Have had the pleasure of knowing Linda online for over a year now and admire her both as a person and as an artist. Am so glad to see her featured like this! Well deserved!

Linda Landig said...

Thanks so much everyone!

Dana, I must admit that I neatened up my table before photographing it! Too embarrassing to post a pic of how it usually looks! lol!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful blog post! I'm a big fan of Linda's work.

JVBurnett said...

I'm a huge fan, too! Great interview, Linda, and I very much love your "Blue Curve Necklace" as well.