Monday, April 19, 2010

Featured Artist...

sari earrings, ocean ... porcelain earrings by Sofia Masri SALE spottie earrings, ruby cape cod earrings, july
Sofia Masri
Handmade Porcelain Jewelry

I was first introduced to Sofia's porcelain jewelry last November at the Chicago Cragft Mafia's DIY Trunkshow. My booth was right across the aisle from hers and I couldn't stop admiring her work (I was quite drawn to all of the colors)! Towards the end of the show I finally gave in and bought myself a cute little Gerberra necklace which by the way is on sale right now and available here.

And now for some Q&A

When did you start working in porcelain? Did you always create jewelry or did you start out making sculptures/vessels/dishes?
I started working with porcelain five or six years ago, completely by accident! I was making beaded jewelry and teaching after school art classes on the side. Finding it difficult to make my work stand out from the rest, I was searching for something different. My mom was making mosaics and signed up for a porcelain tile making class. They needed one more person to meet the minimum enrollment and she talked me into it. I loved it from the start.

Are you self taught or have you gone to art school, taken classes, apprenticed?
I studied fashion design and worked with different media in art school but I had never worked with clay. The tile making class taught me a lot, and the rest I learned from books, the internet, and trial and error.

Is creating porcelain jewelry your full time job? If so how did you decide that it was time to take it full time and what was your previous day job? Yes, I am lucky enough to do this full time! I was working at a very stressful job as an assistant to a high end wedding planner. I was getting sick all the time and was really, really miserable. I always wanted to work for myself, so I quit my job three years ago. It has its ups and downs, and I put in very long hours, but overall it is extremely gratifying.

Color is such a strong focal point in your jewelry (you have such a wonderful sense of color). How do you go about finding the right palette of colors?
Thank you! A bright color palette is really important to me. Just looking at it puts me in a good mood. I really let the materials dictate the color schemes. It all depends on the texture of the particular piece. I sit, look at an unglazed pendant and think, "What color do you want to be?" The deeper the relief, the more opaque I can get with glaze colors. I also love glazing one piece in two or three colors with tiny brushes. It soothes my OCD tendencies.

porcelain pieces waiting for the finishing touches

swirl posts, celery

What inspires you?
Inspiration is a funny thing- I never intentionally set out to find it. I look at a lot of design magazines, blogs, and pay close attention to my surroundings. I sort of internalize everything, let it swirl together in my brain, and then at 2 am when I'm falling asleep the ideas just sort of come together. It's a really surprising process sometimes. I do find that I love looking at old things of all sorts, though. Furniture, china, clothing, buildings, books, you name it.

How do you stay inspired?
When I hit a dry spell, I look at old sketchbooks. I put all of my ideas on paper because I have a terrible memory. Many of the drawings never materialize into three-dimensional pieces, so there are a lot of sketches to look at. If I find something that catches my eye, I'll draw eight or ten variations of it. It's a pretty basic exercise that I learned in high school and have used often. It usually gets things flowing.
aqua swirl necklace

Do you have any advice on how to be successful on Etsy? Try to promote a lot off Etsy. I know that listing often and relisting are important, but it's just as important to let people in the real world know about your shop. Doing art/craft shows in different cities can do wonders. If you can travel, do it! It exposes a whole new market to your work.

Do you advertise? If so how and where?
I haven't advertised a whole lot, a facebook ad here and there. But this was before Etsy had analytics, so I have no idea if they worked or not! I regret to admit that it's been a long time.



Who is the one artist/person/author/musician that has influenced you and your work the most. This is easy- my mother. She also works with porcelain ( and we've learned a lot from each other. Most important, she really nurtured my creativity from a very, very young age and encouraged me to make not-so-practical decisions that led to where I am today. She's an amazing woman and my best friend. I'm really fortunate.

What music do you listen to when working, if any at all?
Lately, I've been listening to IRM by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Volume Two by She & Him. They're both fun to work to in different ways!

Check out this quick video of Sofia at the Buyers Market of American Craft (via Scoutie Girl)

To see more beautiful porcelain jewelry you can follow Sofia on Facebook, at her blog, her website and her Etsy Shop!

Thanks for the interview Sofia and good luck with the summer show season! Hopefully I will see you at some shows around Chicago!

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