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Artist Profile: Tammy Powley

Artist: Tammy Powley
Location: South Florida

Website & Blog: Jewelry Making
Crafty Princess Diaries
[Editor's note - As the Jewelry Making guide at, Tammy provides many projects for her readers. She has graciously chosen images to share with you for which there are instructions!! The link is below each picture. Thanks so much, Tammy!]

Tammy, how do you describe your work?
My jewelry designs are usually petite and practical. I like to make jewelry that I find comfortable to wear, and I’m too klutzy to wear anything overly large. While I don’t totally “diss,” trends, I lean more towards classic looks with a little added zing. I like to use all kinds of materials, but very often you’ll find beads mixed in some how, even if the piece is primarily made of metal.

What is your creative process like?
I normally work best when I have chunks of time, and I usually work when it’s quiet because I’m easily distracted. When I hear music, I tend to zone out and my mind goes elsewhere, so I find it hard to concentrate. I don’t necessarily sketch out every design I create, but I do keep sketch books around and when I don’t have time to try to make a prototype right away and I have ideas floating around, I will sketch them out so I can refer to them later when I have more time.

I have a range of processes for creating work. For example, sometimes I will design a project around a specific item, so I’ll pull various odds and ends and see what I think looks good with it. Other times I may have a specific need, such as a new pair of earrings for an outfit I want to wear, so I’ll purchase specific supplies for that design and go from there. If there is a holiday coming up, then I will focus on creating projects related to the holiday because those are usually very popular with my readers, and hey, they are fun to do too.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I have taken a lot of classes in jewelry making, lapidary, sewing, wearable art, book-art – you name it. I like working with different media, so whenever I get a chance, I try to take a class of some kind. For me, the classroom is a good learning environment because I’m a million-questions kind of person. I like to have a teacher nearby so I can ask questions as they pop into my head (which obviously can require patience on the teacher’s part!) Even if I don’t have time for a class, though, getting together with friends who have similar interests and crafting together has also provided me with wonderful learning experiences.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
If I had to go with one jewelry tool, I think round-nosed pliers are just essential for me.

What inspires you to create?
Colors and textures – I think that’s one reason I like to often mix beads and fibers in with metal.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
I really don’t ever have a time that I feel like giving up on crafting. Because my time is limited, I really look forward to my “play time. I also find it very inspiring to write and publish my designs. I have gotten some wonderful and supportive feedback from my readers, so that also makes me keep doing what I’m doing.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Never stop learning and educating yourself. Classes are great to take if you can, but if not, books, the Web, DVDs, rock clubs, and bead societies are good alternatives. I learn so much from other artists who share their expertise.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
I’m an English teacher, so that means lots and lots and lots of papers to grade!

What are your favorite other hobbies?
I like to do all kinds of crafts, but other than making jewelry, my crafty time is often spent dabbling with paper-art and crochet.

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