Let's meet Cyndie Smith and what she says about her journey that lead her to design jewelry designed for the adventurous woman.
I currently live in Florida, near Tampa Bay. However, my father was a military attache, and I spent most of my life, including a portion of my adulthood, in Europe and the Middle and Far East. I've never lost my wanderlust, which may be why, as National Director of Sales and Marketing for a large healthcare corporation, I traveled outside of Florida five days a week for many years. I finally gave it up in 2003 to pursue my dream. I started with classes that same year and never looked back.
In September of 2007, I opened my first on line store, allowing me to show off my creations to someone besides my husband and friends. I prefer to make one of a kind designs, mostly of an organic nature. When asked to replicate a design, I never make it an exact duplicate, so the wearer can feel that he or she has something truly unique.
I am a professional artist. Since opening my first store, it has been my only job, apart from that of wife, daughter, mother, and now - grandmother.
I'm a self taught computer nerd. Probably if I'd been born of another generation, I would have chosen digital imagery or digital art in one form or another as a career. I own two computers and a Blackberry and though I still struggle with it, the majority of my marketing is done on line. The advent of social networking has opened many doors and I do gallery shows and a small amount of paid advertising. I've found the best source of marketing is word of mouth. A happy customer almost always refers friends and family! If I was to give any advice to fellow artists, it would be to make sure the product is good and the customer service even better.
I think growing up in the diplomatic service influenced me greatly. Not so much the type of art I produce, but more my tolerance of the differences in people. I see fellow artists as comrades rather than competition. I freely share what I know and appreciate others who do the same. United, we can teach the world about art and share the beauty. It doesn't matter what the craft or medium is, if it took a creative mind to design it, it's worth sharing.
I think the most inspiration I've received came with the death of a very dear friend, much before her time. It inspired my "life" series, which I dedicated to her. My avatar on Etsy is the first from the series. I've actually taken the listing off the site for a while, and the story that went with it, because in the course of 6 months after listing it for the first time, I had (and made) 49 requests for variations of it, including one for each of her two sisters. Each request wanted their story told of triumphs and losses. It took an emotional toll on me..I may relist it eventually, but I think it's run it's course for me. I do still produce additions to the series, but not as frequently as before.
I don't really think of myself as a jeweler. I'm a metalsmith who loves to make art...and usually it's wearable. I'm hoping to spend this year developing some new skills, such as glasswork and enameling, to incorporate into my metalwork. I'd also like to try my hand at some larger pieces, like metal sculpture and wall hangings.
I'm a book junky with an extensive library...and I read them all. If someone is starting out, I would highly recommend "The Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight. His revised edition has helped me tremendously.
Lastly, if given the opportunity to speak, not just to artists, but to anyone who'd listen, I'd say "Follow your passion!" If it's not fun, and something you love, it will show in your work.
Thanks so much Cat, you're a peach!
Her site and blog http://www.cyndiesmithdesigns.etsy.com http://www.cyndiesmithdesigns.blogspot.com
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