Meet Melanie Brooks of Hazel Park, MI, who specializes in ceramic jewelry making. Melanie started Earthenwood Studio during the end of her college career, when she decided to combine her love of ceramics and jewelry making and become a porcelain bead maker. While Melanie has dabbled in other materials and other forms of ceramic work over the years, porcelain jewelry as an art form had remained the consistent focus of her artwork and career.
Melanie is inspired by both the natural world and the urban industrial landscape, mixing imagery from both with a blend of vintage style, art history inspiration, and a bit of humor and pop culture. In her jewelry designs porcelain is the main component, and she enjoys combining it with mixed metal, found objects, and unusual materials.
Over the years, Melanie has designed and sold her handcrafted jewelry, beading components, and ceramic gift tiles ar art fairs, galleries, bead stores, and bead trade shows all over the counrty. She has blogged regularly for many years, often offering an interesting glimpse into her creative process and studio life. Melanie has designed jewelry for many project articles for magazines and books for publication. She shows her work online on her website and sells her ceramics from three different Etsy sites.
How long have you been creating your artwork?
I have been making artwork all my life, but I started focusing on it as a business full time in 1996.
Do you have any notable awards or accomplishments?
I am proud that I have been self employed with my artwork for over a decade. It is an accomplishment for me to be able to live by selling things I make!
What makes your artwork unique or distinctive?
I create pendants that are stamped with custom stamps and molds from drawings and carvings that I make as well as unusual found objects that I stamp into clay. I enjoy making jewelry with unique materials to compliment my ceramics.
I have always wanted to be an artist. I was always painting, drawing, or crafting something, especially using various forms of clay and jewelry materials.
What inspired you to start creating your artwork & how did you turn it into a business?
As a child, I was fascinated to learn that people could do art as their job and I loved going to art fairs and galleries to see artists at work. Early on, I decided that would be my career goal so that became my focus during my college years at College for Creative Studies.
What do you love most about the creative process?
I love the experience of something starting out as a kernel of an idea and turning it into a design that I can reproduce. I have always leaned towards small production and love to find a way to make lots of something while still keeping it handmade and unique.
What do you enjoy doing besides making art?
I have become interested in cooking and baking, especially decorating cookies and cakes and I am researching candy making. I like antiquing, traveling, sketching, watching independent movies and artsy movies, and hanging out and planning events with my friends.
Quotes you love or live by:
"Find what you love and let it kill you" -Charles Bukowsk
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined" -Henry David Thoreau
"You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down" -Ray Bradbury
"I may have not gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be" -Douglas Adams
You can find lots of Melanie's beautifully designed jewelry at Yellow Door and online. Stay tuned for more fun and interesting info about Melanie all week!
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