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Artist Profile: Beth Cummings

Paris Photo Necklace

Artist: Beth Cummings
Business Name: Diffraction
Location: Chicago, IL

Website: Diffraction

Ivy Stud Earrings

Beth, how do you describe your work?
I’ve always been a photographer, and one day I had this epiphany that I needed to combine my photography with jewelry in order to create some really bold, modern and graphic pieces. Basically the kind of stuff I like to wear. All the images that appear in my jewelry are my original photographs that I transfer to thick plastic and hand cut, shape and wire. When first creating the line I wanted a name that would reflect the uniqueness of the original photography while still sounding modern and intriguing. Thus, Diffraction was born!

Sliced Earrings

What is your creative process like?
Well this is really a two part question for me. The photography aspect of it happens in chunks, my husband and I will go on roadtrips, trips abroad or sometimes just to our local farmers market and I’ll capture things that inspire me.

New product lines tend to be epiphanies, I’ll be walking down the street and think I HAVE to make nightlights with my photos (coming soon!). I have to keep an ideas journal with me at all times because I really have a horrendous memory. So new products come flipping back through my journal and creating.

Wine Charms

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
Besides my camera it’d have to be needle nose pliers. They are just indispensable for all sorts of details and wiring. Not terribly exciting, but necessary!

What inspires you to create?
The world around me! I love looking at the details of ordinary objects, up close and personal. Playing with angles and looking at things in a whole new way, which you’ll see in a lot of my pieces. We see so much ugliness in the world through the eyes of the media. I want to give an alternate look, a look of beauty.

Zesty Stud Earrings

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
Chocolate! Well, that and I have a wonderful support system of family and friends who encourage and believe in me. It’s so helpful to have artistic and crafty people around you who are going through the same things.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Stay true to yourself and your aesthetic. I see so many people trying to follow what’s “hot” and it tends to make for a lot of similar work out there. And don’t sell anything that you are not proud of, ever. You are nothing without your reputation as an artist.

Plumage Earrings

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
I absolutely love to cook! Having friends over with some good food, fun conversation, and a great bottle of wine. There is no better way to relax.

Roadside America Earrings

What’s your favorite comfort food?
Sushi, sushi, sushi. I’m pretty sure I could eat it just about every day, you know, if it wasn’t so expensive. When my husband and I met he hated sushi. I told him that just wouldn’t work for me. Slowly but surely I’ve gotten him to expand his love of raw fish. It’s been a pet project, and now he loves his tuna and cream cheese rolls. If only I could get him to try some eel!

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