I’m Gina-Marie Hammer, and I’m honored to be one of 36 participants in the 2016 Build a Line Challenge, hosted by B’Sue Boutiques. I work in paper, paint, thread, yarn and wire, and make everything from toys to small decorative items. Over the years I’ve spent time working as an accountant, a game designer, an advocate for folks with Fibromyalgia and a teacher. I opened my advocacy site Netjera.com (“Art. Games. Life.”) in 2008. (https://www.facebook.com/Netjera-188871454532434/)
This is my Nonna. Nonna started me with yarn and a needle at age 7. She used to sit me on her lap, where I would watch, fascinated, as she twisted thread around needle, and made something out of nothing. She recognized a hyperactive child with an extensive imagination and a broad sense of curiosity. In her mind, crochet would teach me to sit still and focus – and it worked! I’ve been a crafter ever since, and an artist since age 16.
When I was twelve, I went to a middle school that had a full jewelry workshop. I remember sitting at the lapidary station, trying to facet a raw amethyst. I moved before finishing, but I still HAVE that amethyst – the experience so stuck in my mind! It’s funny how life can come full circle. I’m back to jewelry again!
<I wanted to show you guys a picture of the amethyst, which I just found recently – but now I can’t figure out where I put it!>
I’m lucky enough to have great family; so I live in a shared house where I have a separate room for my studio. It’s cramped, small and alarmingly multi-purpose, but I fill it with things that I love! I’ve always had a love of miniatures and because my Dad is allergic to pets of all kinds, they’ve become something of an audience for me. I put them around my studio and imagine they’re cheering for me. Sometimes, I take them down and use them for inspiration in my work. Of course – not to be denied! – I must often bear the burden of playing with them, as well.
Seeing these photos, it should therefore, come as a huge surprise (to no one!) that I fell in love with these teeny tiny children that B’Sue offers. Aren’t they precious? I’m incredibly fascinated by small details, and every bit is perfect. Tiny fingers, perfect shoes, little pompoms – it’s all there.
When I saw Brenda Sue Landsdowne of B’Sue Boutiques do a video where she placed a tiny doll into a maple leaf as part of a necklace, all I could see were fairy wings. The leaf looked like wings behind the doll, and wouldn’t it be SO sweet if I could make a selection of fairies using the dolls and various leaves, wings and other pieces? When I found out that B’Sue Boutiques was hosting a master-level class, called the Build-a-Line Challenge, I knew exactly what I was going to do! I’ve purchased TEN of those little dolls, and every bit and piece I could find that looked like a wing. It’s going to be an adventure pulling it all together! At the end of the class, I’m hoping to have at least five pieces completed.
In 2013 I decided that I wanted to open my own crafting business. I started in crochet, where it all began. In the process of researching an unrelated project, I found photo jewelry and got hooked through a backdoor. Some of my early pieces use photo jewelry construction to create simple, yet pretty pendants.
I really enjoy making these, and I return to them often. From them, I’ve evolved a line of hand-painted cabochons, made in a similar way. I went from that to trying to include those cabochons in other pieces, using more than pre-made bezels. It was a year of slow, cautious progress, until I found Brenda Sue and her video tutorials. Since then, my work has taken a serious leap forward!
I have a love of dangles, shiny metals, graceful vines leaves and flowers, painted, iridescent surfaces, and delicate wire work. My love of crochet fits in perfectly! As a matter of fact, everything I’ve learned in other fields is useful in jewelry making!
I’m hoping my line, which is unnamed at present but which may be called “Tiny Fairies”, will be a marriage of whimsical, fantasy themes with romantic, Art Nouveau styling. I’m currently at the drawing board, pulling things together in Photoshop, and working with several designs.
Stay tuned for more development, and in-progress work reports and pictures! We’ll have another blog hop on Friday, the 26th of February, and our last on Friday, April 1st. Do me a favor and give a little love to my friends below? They’re working hard to make pretty stuff as well, and our sponsor B’Sue Boutiques deserves some major kudos for putting this all together – Brenda Sue has great stuff on her site! Give her a look!