04 November 2011

Introducing Gretchen Baneyx of Bespoken Jewelry (Made With Love Sponsor)

My Dear Friends,

I happened upon Bespoken Jewelry via Etsy, while searching for "London Blue Topaz" (my newest obsession).  I was immediately captivated by the artist Gretchen's incredible talent and skill.  I know you'll fall in love with her designs just like I did.  Now, I'd like to let Gretchen take the floor and tell you a little about herself and her creative process.  Afterward, I'll show you some of my favorite designs and tell you more about the Made With Love Giveaway Hop contest. 

Bespoken Jewelry is my 2011 Made With Love Giveaway Hop sponsor which means YOU could be the winner of this amazing Silver Spinner ring which retails for $55 at Bespoken Jewelry:

 (More Info. On How To Win At The Bottom Of The Page)

The Gretchen Baneyx Bio:
I am a former scientist and single mom to an amazing young girl. I am quirky, creative and obsessive. I'm a tossed salad of opposites: right brain/left brain, idealist/pragmatist, passionate/logical. I’m very open about who I am because I’m just so confusing to most people who needs to keep secrets?

I love to create with my hands and have always had an artistic side. When I was little and my mom was writing her dissertation for her Ph.D. she would put me at a table with crayons and paper and I’d be content for hours. My first love was drawing and painting. In fact, I wanted to go to art school after high school, but I was so good at math and science (and how could I waste that?!) I went to an Ivy League college instead – and majored in Asian Philosophy. Ha-ha! That showed them! Oh, wait. What am I qualified to do now?

So, after several years of eclectic searching (I was a banker, a fitness trainer, I sold clothes for Nordstrom, etc.), I thought, “I should be an Engineer!” I’m very mechanical and good at math (higher math – I’m awful at basic math). I probably ended up a chemical engineer because I got to make things turn colors during my first year chemistry class. My Ph.D. was fundamentally about images and color. I studied cells and the amazing architecture they created in living color viewed through the lens of a microscope. After my Ph.D. there was a point where I stopped being able to play on the microscope. That’s when the bloom was off the rose, so to speak. When I look back I realize I took up jewelry as therapy for my day job. Once I started playing with fire and working in silversmithing, I was in love. I create jewelry because it's my passion. I love color, light and geometry, and find satisfaction deep in my soul when I achieve a synergy of all three.

I never thought I would turn my hobby into a full time career, although it quickly became a dream. However, my career in science stalled because of the economy (no one is hiring) and the lab I worked for moved out of state. My house, my family, my daughter are all in Seattle. It’s been trial and lots of error, so be careful what you ask for!

The Creative Process:
In some ways, my process is like an antidote to the scientific process. It’s very non-linear, occasionally verging on performance art. I get ideas from playing with shapes and colors. First it pops into my head like an urge, frequently just after I finish meditating. Then I’ll either start puttering with shapes I have from projects that didn’t quite gel or I’ll dig into my gem collection and start putting colors together. From there I draw out a rough sketch of the idea because often there’s an order in which you have to do things. So, at this point it becomes more of a science. Metal behaves a certain way and you have to understand it and respect it. My process also involves less scientific behavior like coaxing, bargaining and the occasionally begging.

Something I always keep in mind is that all jewelry is ugly before it becomes beautiful. The end product can be amazing, but that’s not the full story. It’s a metaphor applicable to many other aspects of life.

I really believe there's a special energy that artisans put into their work that makes it come alive in a way that manufactured jewelry cannot. Since I create each piece by hand, each one is unique even if it is of the same design. I am always learning, pushing my envelope. I am mostly self-taught, yet
I've had the good fortune to take classes from some fabulous artists. Like scientists, artists stand on the shoulders of giants.

My Favorite Pieces:

(Click On The Photos To Be Taken To The Etsy Listing)

What you could win:

The Silver Spinner Ring.  Spinner (or fidget) rings are fun and versatile! Hand forged from recycled sterling silver, the interior is smooth and polished for comfort while the outside is textured to look like wood (faux bois). Patina is applied to add drama, giving the ring a lovely organic look. Two bands of brightly polished silver spin within the curved walls of the band for you to play with.
It looks great on both men or women, dressy or casual.  The ring is about 10mm (3/8”) wide and can be custom made to the size you need (size 5 to 10 including half sizes).  Wide band rings fit tighter than rings with narrow bands, so a good rule of thumb is to add a half size to your normal ring size when ordering.  Made to order rings usually take about 5 days before shipping. Each is handmade so please expect some variation from the picture.
This ring retails at $55 at Bespoken Jewelry.

The Made With Love Giveaway Hop Begins On November 7th!  Come back to enter to win!

Connect With  Bespoken Jewelry

*Gretchen Baneyx & Bespoken Jewelry donated a set of stacking rings for review and the spinner ring for a giveaway.  All opinions are my own, all facts are from Gretchen and no monetary compensation was given to either party.  Thank you, Gretchen.  You are a wonderfully talented artist and I am honored to get to promote you.  ♥

1 comment:

{K} said...

What a pretty ring! I'll be back to enter the giveaway. :)