My biggest problem in introducing you to this week's artist is trying to figure out how to limit myself with the photos. It's nearly impossible. Here's why.
See what I mean? So who is she? Her name is Carmen Trueheart, working under the business name Baublezptoa. Originally from Richmond, Va, she lives in St. Augustine, FL with her husband, dogs, and cats. Artisan jewelry has always held a fascination for her, and now she's got me fascinated with her talent and wares. Fascinated, I tell you. Why? Check this out.
Can you guess what that's made of? Betcha can't. Betcha a million dollars, you can't, unless you already know Carmen and what she does. It's Precious Metal Clay. Yes, really. I'd never heard of it before either, until I joined the Handmade Artist's Forum and met her. Doesn't it look just phenomenal, though? And seahorses! I love seahorses!
Plus, she's got a whole line of pawprint items. How fitting is that for Reef Botanicals?
Funny, I say "phenomenal," she says "alright." Humble much? As she puts it, "working with precious metal clay is a joy and a frustration, clay is sticky, it doesn't always stay where you put it, but sometimes when it does it turns out alright." I wish everything I did turned out so all right!
So what is Precious Metal Clay? Mitsubishi, the Japanese car manufacturer, created precious metal clay several years ago. It consists of fine silver powder and an organic binder that burns away in a kiln, leaving just the solid fine silver. The Japanese were the first to use this medium in jewelry.
Since then, Mitsubishi and other companies have developed metal clays that can be fired at lower temperatures, allowing the inclusion of lab grown gemstones, dichroic glass, and some other very hard gemstones.
It's not just precious metal clay, though. She makes her statement jewelry from silver, precious metal clay, vintage beads, gemstones, and leather.
Right after high school, while she was taking accounting courses and working, she started making beaded jewelry. It was just a hobby until she finally left corporate America for her better path. She spent her time leaning about beads, the history, trading, meanings, values... and then moved on to learn about gemstones and silver, then silversmithing, and finally Precious Metal Clay, her medium of choice, and the medium in which she is certified. Yes, she's got a Precious Metal Clay certification! Now, she can use all of her knowledge and talents together to create these beautiful works of wearable art.
Carmen is committed to her customers, and as an example, actually wears each bracelet she makes for a day, to see that it's comfortable, sturdy, and wears well.
To see more photos of her work, check out her website.
Want to learn more about her? Check out her more personal blog here and her more businessy blog here.