I create one-of-a-kind tangles of color, texture, and light. I find that conceiving the designs for my jewelry and accessories, and then bringing them to life between my fingers, instills a remarkable mix of wonder, excitement, and satisfaction.
I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't making something with my hands. My mom and my grandmother instilled a love of needle arts of all kinds. I started sewing Barbie doll clothes and embroidering cross-stitch pictures when I was in third grade, and off I went! When I was ten, my grandmother taught me to crochet and I fell in love with it.
For many years, I practiced law on a full-time basis, but as my autistic son grew older, I found the time demands became impossible because of the need to provide additional support to him – especially driving, as he went to high school in Ann Arbor and college at EMU in Ypsilanti, and he has not been able to learn to drive. Luckily, I was at a point where I had begun experimenting with the creation of crocheted jewelry. The reaction to that work was so encouraging that I decided to try turning my art into a business – one that would allow me more flexibility in scheduling and still allow me to practice law to a limited extent. And so, Gossamer Tangles was born as an outgrowth of that early love of crochet and handcrafting, coupled with my need to find a career option that would work for my unique situation.
I now create a variety of jewelry and jewelry-type accessories, as well as scarves and bags. I enjoy incorporating different types of materials into my creations. I use wire, beads, assorted types of fiber (yarn, ribbon, cord, thread, wool, fabric) sequins, buttons, clay, metal, paper, upcycled and recycled materials, and other miscellaneous items. I also use a variety of techniques -- most often crochet, but also macrame, braiding, felting, sewing, and embroidery. All items I create are one of a kind unless a customer who purchases an item requests duplicates (such as jewelry for all the bridesmaids in a wedding party, or identical pieces for sisters).
If you would like to learn more about me and my creative process, take a look at my blog.
What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?
This is a really difficult question! My work is so diverse, that it is very hard to pick one favorite piece; plus, how I feel about a particular creation can change over time. The above picture is a few of the pieces that I’ve made that I am particularly fond of.
What are your goals for the future, both artistically and in life?
Artistically, I have a few goals that I would like to accomplish this year. First, I’d like to start writing up and publishing patterns for more of my crochet designs. I have a few right now on Ravelry, but I receive many requests for patterns and I would love to help people make their own pieces, bringing their interpretations to my designs. Second, I want to continue to experiment with incorporating metal focal pieces into my jewelry designs. I’ve been happy with the results, so far, and I’ve had a very good response from customers. Finally, and this is the hardest one for me, I very much want to improve my online presence as an artist. I’d like to post on my blog on a regular schedule, have a more meaningful social media presence, and my Etsy shop needs lots of attention!
In terms of life goals, I’m working to develop a meaningful daily practice of mindfulness. Just 10 minutes a day of breathing deeply and fully appreciating the present moment can work wonders. The problem is finding that 10 minutes! I also want to help our rescue dog become less anxious and more comfortable with new people and situations. Riley is a pug/chihuahua/terrier mix that we adopted last March after he was rescued from a hoarding situation (15 dogs in a very small apartment; he had never been outside). He was afraid of just about everything! He has improved so much – but I know we can do more to help him feel secure and overcome his fears.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on some little brooches for spring – bird’s nests and tiny bouquets. They can also be attached to a chain and worn as a pendant. As always, each is one-of-a-kind.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
One of the most fun experiences I’ve had with my crochet in recent years does not involve my business, but rather some “free time” experimentation I’ve done with amigurumi. If you don’t already know, amigurumi is the Japanese art of creating small, stuffed, knitted or crocheted creatures. I was able to crochet amigurumi figures of two of my son’s characters from his comics and stories. I crocheted Viper Girl (which he raffled off as a prize at one of his book signings) and I also stitched up Chaos Teddy, a sort of monster-ish, but cute looking, purple teddy bear-type character that was one of his first digital comic creations.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
In addition to being a jewelry and fiber artist, I am also an attorney. I practice law under my maiden name, Angela Nicita. I continue to do some legal work on a part-time basis, doing specialized research and writing projects on a contract basis for other attorneys. When I practiced full time, I was an appellate attorney.
Over the years, I’ve also done a variety of other jobs, including, waitressing, retail sales, publishing a newsletter, and teaching a Montessori middle school speech class.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
My family! My family means everything to me. They are my strength and my joy! My first grandchild, Koen, is about to turn 1 year old, and the best two days of my week are the two that I spend caring for him. He just makes my heart smile!
What is your strongest memory of your childhood?
My strongest memory is also my oldest. The visual part of it is all in gray tones. I was standing on a sandy beach (it was actually Miami Beach, Florida). It was windy and there were huge waves. My dad was out in the water, far from shore, swimming through the waves. I felt very afraid. My parents told me that this happened when I was two.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
When I was in my 30’s, a good friend told me that I would be more happy and productive if I started each day with a little bit of “me” time. She was absolutely right! I begin each day by spending about 20 minutes in bed reading a book and having my morning coffee. I get up early enough to build in that time for myself, and it definitely helps me get centered for the day.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
They might be surprised to learn that most of my design ideas come together in the shower! For whatever reason, it’s where I am my most creative and most able to visualize. I keep a notebook in the bathroom where I can jot down my ideas.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
Be flexible! Be strong! It’s a given: Life is going to throw you curves and surprises, good and bad. The more you are able to go with the flow, and yet remain rooted and stable in who you are and what is truly important, the better your life and the life of those you care about will be.
Where do you gather most of your inspiration for your artwork?
I find inspiration just about everywhere I look! Nature (especially plants, marine life, and landscapes) provide lots of ideas for color, texture, and structure. Patterns that I observe in architecture or textiles can be inspiring. Just looking at photos on Instagram or in magazines can sometimes spark ideas. Lately, with the metal components I’ve been incorporating with my crochet, I find that just looking at the lines and characteristics of a particular metal piece will generate all kinds of options in my mind.
What is your favorite...
Color: Periwinkle Blue
Pet and/or animal: I have a rescue pug, chihuahua, terrier mix named Riley and a cockatiel named Gnocchi.
Movie: Gone With the Wind
Board game: I’m old school – Scrabble and Monopoly.
Holiday: Christmas! I love that all my siblings and their families come back to my parents’ home, where we grew up, and we spend time together. And I adore Christmas lights and decorations! For a little while, the world looks magical.
Website: I subscribe to the digital edition of The New York Times, and I love their Daily Briefing, which you can get delivered to your email every day, even if you are not a subscriber. I also really like their podcast, The Daily. These two resources help me keep up on what’s happening in the wider world.
Best cup of coffee: The coffee I brew at home every morning. I grind my own beans fresh, every day. I especially like Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company’sDark Horse Espresso Blend.
Ice cream: Ashby’s Eskimo Kisses (coconut ice cream with dark chocolate and almonds)
You can find lots of Angie's gorgeous crocheted scarves & jewelry at Yellow Door and online.