Thursday, March 31, 2016

Interview with Maria Scott of SunStones

 Hey Everyone I just interviewed Maria from SunStones Jewelry!

If you don't know Maria and her vibrant copper creations you should take a minute to check her out. I am in love with her clasps pendants and findings. She is also an avid animals rights supporter and volunteer. Below is a link to her cat toys that support

Handmade Rustic Copper Toggle Clasp TC529

Anyway, onto some questions.
1. I know you talk about it on your Etsy page, but tell us what was the thing that set you onto the path of making jewelry. What was your AH HAAA! moment so to speak?
It's funny you ask about an Ah HAAA moment.  I am not sure there ever was one with me.  I accidentally started beading jewelry by shopping at JoAnn Fabrics, and buying stretchy cord and inexpensive beads.  It was fun, and soon became an obsession, buying better quality stones and sterling silver findings.  I was doing what people generally do, give away what you make, then looking for a venue in which to sell.  A friend told me about Etsy in 2007 and helped me to open a shop.  After a few years, I realized I needed to do more, and looked into a local school that was teaching metalsmithing.  All it took was one class there, and I was seriously hooked!  Imagine, creating art from a piece of metal - the only thing limiting me was myself! 

2. I read about your issues with migraines, I am also disabled (end term osteo arthritis spreading thru my entire body, DDD, etc) How do you keep your disability from stopping your creative life? What tips can you offer other artists who have similar issues??? 
Migraines are a terribly debilitating condition, and I have suffered with them for forty five years.  After menopause, they became much worse and I am ill about five days a week.  Unfortunately, I have not found a solution to this, despite trying almost everything.  Medication helps, but brings on a rebound headache the following day.  The more medication taken, the more difficult it is to relieve the rebound headache.  Luckily, I have a very supportive husband.  I work when I am able, and believe me, on days that I feel good, I am very productive! 

          3. I looked over everything in your Etsy store, and loved it all. What has impacted your             personal style the most?

Years ago, when I first started beading, a bead shop owner told me that I would find my style.  I couldn't envision what she was talking about, but then I DID find my style.  Metalsmithing is a bit different than beading, I think a style just develops once you work at it every day.  You need to be able to experiment, be willing to discard experiments that don't work, but learn from them.  I like to look at other people's work, but it's not my main source of inspiration.  Believe it or not, my customers are my creative source - the feedback I get, the requests I get - these things challenge me in such a way that other ideas come from them.  It escalates from there!

4. I love that you support animals in need with items you sell. Have you had any new additions to your family of companions at home that we haven't' read about yet??? :^) and what would you like to say to people who want to help but aren't sure where to start?
The first thing I would recommend is to be passionate about your choice of charity.  I am an avid animal lover, animal rights activist, volunteer and supporter.  It comes easy to me, wanting to help in any way possible.  Instead of sitting in front of the TV and not doing anything, I crochet cat toys.  Selling them and donating the funds could mean that a rescue organization gets to save another animal from the euthanasia list.  Every life is important, even the smallest. 


5. Do you have any new items you are working on for your shop?
I have ideas for variations of focal components for my silk wrap bracelets.  I have a prototype that I'm working on - Noosa snaps attached to copper discs. 

6. I love your patina technique, are you willing to talk about it and share with us your method?
The first thing I'd mention is that patinas are fickle, many things affect how the turnout will be, and mine never look the same twice!  Humidity in the air, for example.... oil residue left on the metal, which should be thoroughly cleaned first.  I start with kitchen kosher salt (the grains are larger than table salt), mix it with vinegar.  I pour a small amount of ammonia into a glass cup and place the ammonia into a large flat container that can be sealed airtight.  I cut sections of copper, wash it with baking soda, anneal it with my torch, and place it into the flat container.  The salt/vinegar mix is spread on top of the copper, then seal the container.  I leave it there for 24-48 hours, sometimes as long as 72 hours.  Once you open the container and take out the copper sheets, you need to shake off the salt mixture.  It doesn't always show a patina, so you let it dry for maybe six hours.  After it is dry, I wipe off all the remaining salt and have two different chemicals that make blue or green patina.  Those chemicals are made by different companies, so I don't tend to mix them unless the first coat is dry.  After painting the chemical on, I let the copper dry for 24 hours, then spray it with two coats of high quality lacquer spray, made by GJ Nikolas and Co., it is called #2105 Clear.  This is the product used to spray professional musical equipment such as saxaphones and other brass.  Once the lacquer is dry, I will cut the sheets of copper into earring size components, and hammer the edges with my goldsmith's hammer, which gives a distressed look.  I have even tried putting these components through my tumbler, for an additional distressed look.

7. Do you ever deal with creative blocks? And how do you get past them?
LOL, I do get these creative blocks and I despise them!  I whine and complain to my artistically inclined friends, who laugh at and with me, and somehow I overcome the blocks.  I had a really good day a few weeks ago, where I emailed a friend in a state of delirium, telling her that I had so many ideas and felt that everything I was doing was turning out either exactly as I planned, or better!  I love those days! 

           8. How do you like to recharge your batteries and relax?

In all honesty, sitting at my bench and looking at my tools and supplies is such a "high" for me.  That is where my batteries get recharged.  I do have a lot of stress in my life, my 89 year old mother passed away recently, from dementia.  My 90 year old dad lives by himself and just recently lost his license, which puts the burden on me to help care for him.  Finances are always stressful, because my vet bills tally up to about $9k per year (when parrots get sick, it becomes very expensive! all three of our parrots were sick last year with major illnesses).  When I feel overwhelmed, I either sit at the TV and crochet cat toys, or sit and my bench and visualize my next project.

9. And last but by no means least do you have any words of wisdom to other people dealing with physical issues who want to start a creative business but are putting it off because of their issues?
Don't put anything off until tomorrow.  If your dream is to start a creative business, do whatever you need to do to get started, now.  You won't believe how much pride you will feel at the end of the day.



You! can sponsor a cat today!

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