bionic unicorn & star of the east

August 31, 2009

I figured it was about time for us all to get steampunked. Actually…I had no idea what that was until I stumbled across Bionic Unicorn’s store on Etsy one time when I was looking around like I am wont to do. I can’t resist feasting my eyes on all the pretties.

Actually, I put some of Kristin’s (of Bionic Unicorn) earrings on my recent treasury and we had a lovely chat via etsy convo after that. Apparently, we just love each other. 🙂 I think she’s has quite an eye and I love that she lives in the Midwest. Keep up the good work Kristin!

Here is a little bit of Kristin’s story from her website:

“I am Kristin Berwald and I studied fine arts in college, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, fibers, graphic design, and art history. I went to Pigeon Lake a whole lot and got really experimental with my painting style. From there, it moved into assemblage sculpture, and more painting. Now I have taken that and used it to make assemblage jewelry, which in a way is like wearable art.

I like to think of my floral pieces as small gardens or landscapes that tell a story. I try to use as many vintage components as possible in each creation becauase it is a fun challenge and it is good for the earth to upcycle and repurpose materials. When I make a piece of jewelry, I like to think of who will be wearing it and what they will be doing and I make up little fun stories about it, like the Clockmaker’s Daughter… a girl with an uncanny ability to repair clocks and Exquisite Species, a strange mechanical butterfly.”

You can also check out her blog here.

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I don’t know if you’d call these next designers steampunk, but they are innovative and very cute. Here is a little bit of Esther and Estella’s story:

“Jewelry making for me started in a rough way some fifteen years ago. I had an accident at the building site (I am a civil engineer) that left me incapacitated and unable to do that kind of work any longer. After a long convalescence I decided to move from the Netherlands with my then adolescent daughter, Estella, to Turkey, a favorite holiday spot for us. The climate was more favorable for my injuries and the cost of living was a lot cheaper which suited my dramatically diminished income. And this has proved to be a sound decision. My physical mobility improved greatly, and the beauty of the country, the colors, the traditions, and even the smells are a daily source of inspiration. 

I have always had a passion for handcrafts, but of course, being a single ‘Mum’ with a full time job, it had been years since I had had the time and tranquility to do something with my hands. Well, here was my opportunity! 

As my daughter was growing up we explored many crafts together: drawing, painting, embroidering, and decorating the house (with often a zero budget but smashing results). Our many friends and acquaintances considered us the most creative family they knew. 

A visit some eight years ago to a remote village where ethnic fellahs live, brought about a fundamental change to our crafts. A young woman gave me present, a piece of fabric on which she had ‘painted’ a characteristic ruin of her village. The ‘painting’ was done with sequins and beads, and in bold colors; and it was very expressive. 

What a discovery! My daughter and I began to create fabric pictures of buildings, mosques and churches with onion domes, an old passion of mine from my building life. Sewing sequin by sequin, tiny seed bead by tiny seed bead onto the fabric we created bright, fantastic landscapes for our walls. Each work took several months to complete, generally with me sketching the composition and making the contours while my daughter, with better eyes and quicker hands, filled it in. And from this a very close and personal way of working together was born, the two of us with four hands working towards a common goal. 

And then, four years ago, jewelry making became a fashion even in the small town in southwest Turkey where we live and all kind of beads and findings began to arrive from Istanbul, where, of course, every thing imaginable in the world can be found at the bazaar. Estella started to make her own jewellery and soon I got interested too. And from the first necklace we created, we had the feeling we could become really, really good at this, we could be passionate about it and fulfilled. My daughter and I have since go on to create hundreds of jewelry pieces, with two different tastes and designstyles Estella’s and mine. Estella skillfully executing the designs, she also solves the technical problems of jewelry making. This work bring us great joy, especially the hands on aspect of it, and the fact that women look great in our designs gives us a kick. 

Estella has finished her education as an interior designer (you know, smashing results with almost zero budget) but in the small town where we live there is not a big demand for this. The jewelry making, however is a different story. Women (and men) always feel a need to embellish themselves. Jewelry helps women to feel good, to look good, and yes, to heal themselves, and we are there for every woman and every budget. 

Thousands of people make a living either in the jewelry industry or by making jewelry, and with so many competitors it is a challenge to be different and to get our name out there while at the same time working to improve our craft. We feel Etsy is a step in the right direction and will help us to achieve our goals, and it also a great way to make new friends.”

In making my way through the Star of the East store today I had the feeling that these ladies just can’t sit still. They have to be creating something! They have so much great and different jewelry in their store. You really have to see for yourself. These are just a few of my favorites:

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You can also check out their great blog here.

I, also, love making friends on etsy. Thanks, ladies, for letting me share about your lives and your creative process. Good luck!

Jenn

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One Response to “bionic unicorn & star of the east”

  1. noel Says:

    i LOVE steampunk 🙂 thanks for the sites to check out.


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