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Artist profile: Olivia Competente


Artist: Olivia Competente
Business name: Jewels By Olivia
Location: San Francisco

Website: Jewels By Olivia
Gallery: Museum of Craft and Folk art in San Francisco

Olivia, how do you describe your work?
I have always loved sparkle and color. I started out with beads and they have always been my first love. What I do now is and extension of my bead work. I love the art nouveau movement and Egyptian adornments.

What is your creative process like?
Sometimes I render a piece, but mostly I like looking at what I have and what will fit with it. I work very organically – it cannot be forced, it will work itself out and be or not. Then I show the design to my mom and she has a great eye and gets me to finish a piece.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
When I was 9ish I lusted after a pair of earrings at Macy’s and my mom wouldn’t buy them for me. Instead she took me to the oldest bead shop in San Francisco and bought me beads and started my life long passion for jewelry. Then in 2001, the industry I worked in got hit bad by 9-11 so my mom told me to go back to jewelry and I started my formal training on metal fabrication. I am now a PMC certified artisan, teach enameling, fused glass and bead work at the Sharon Art Studio in San Francisco.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
My original Cress kiln.

What inspires you to create?
The light as it plays across the ocean or trees of Golden gate park, new colors in beads.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
The fact that great work is giving life to an idea, and collaborating with my mom.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Practice, practice , practice, and have fun in the end.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
Cooking for my family and my pets (4 cats and 2 dogs).

What are some of your other favorite things?
I love a good hamburger, read fairy tales, and right now I love a blue-based red color!

Where else can we see your work?
I will have a piece in the up coming Show for the Northern California enamelist guild at the  Oakland Museum.

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