Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The CraftStar Featured Artist of the Week: The Alchemists Vessel 

My name is Alixandra Browning, "Alix" for short.  I was born and raised in San Francisco, California and currently reside in Boise, Idaho.  I have three cats, Nora, Nick and Zoe, a grown son, and the S.O. would like to remain anonymous (he's no fun).

Kahleesi Turquoise Copper Jewelry Set

My Studio:  It resides in a room of my house, here you can see most of my tools including "Pickling Pot", Hammers, Torch, Mini Rotary Tool and more.  (It's clean here, to show it off)

What it looks like during a project, the aftermath...  Here I believe is a casting project, sand paper, torch and various other odds and ends to get the job done.

I have always had a penchant for art or crafting.  Born and raised in the lovely, but foggy climate of San Francisco, California, making the move to seasonal weather Boise, Idaho was a shocker for this Beach Bunny.  Snowed in for most of the winter here in Idaho, I had to do something or go stir-crazy, I began by making simple earrings and beaded necklaces, soon I discovered I wanted more out of my jewelry and became a Certified Jewelry Design and Repair Technician (Yes, they have classes for that), sometimes also referred to as a Bench Jeweler.  Self taught, I find that not being confined to the traditional methods allows me to be freer in my designs.  Chainmaille is not only a hobby it is a passion, I also knit and dabble in sculpting now and again.

Elynsynos Dragonscale Chainmaille Bracelet

Currently right now, my goal is to try and break into the Costuming Departments at some of the TV / Movie Studios.  I would love to see my maille pieces worn by the actors in programs like "Game of Thrones", "Vikings", and other period style shows.  Surprisingly enough I have actually achieved one dream.  Long ago I dreamed of opening a Brick and Mortar location and I now own and operate "Little Shop of Artists", a retail venue for local artists and their wares.  Mission Accomplished.  My goal and aspiration for the store are to eventually move into a larger space and offer more room for more artists, I would like to incorporate space for classrooms and studio space for artists.  I would like to create a cohesive artistic community where local artists can share (and sell) their handmade wares with the public.  Little Shop of Artists, 6713 Fairview Avenue, Boise, ID 83704. It may not be great, but it's mine.

Mystery Bracelet Set

My very first attempt at Casting a piece at home was a fiasco.  Not only did I burn myself, but managed to get molten metal everywhere as well.  There is now a permanent solid pool of metal stuck to my work table.  I managed to melt the metal and poor it in the mold and then the Gremlin that lives in my house struck.  I got up from the work table and barley touched it, sending enough vibration across the surface to knock the mold off it's stand, the metal, not quite solidified, started to ooze from the Sprue hole (a channel at the top of mold for pouring metal into) and onto the table.  Like an IDIOT, I grab a paper towel to mop up the 1200 degree metal and singe my fingers something fierce.  Stuck between tending to my burned digits or the table, I chose my fingers and left the mold where it lay, when I returned the metal had cooled in to a pool on the tables surface.  That table has been relegated to the garage where it is a catch all for any and everything that wanders into or on to it.

Moonlit Dragon

Unfortunately the market is overrun with Handmade Jewelry, and marketing it is most difficult.  I have found that wearing it is the best marketing tool I have in my arsenal.  Business cards are fine, websites are fine, but having someone stop and talk to you about the piece you are wearing gives you an opportunity to promote yourself, your business and meet a potential client in one fell swoop.  I can not stress this enough, ALWAYS carry your business cards.  Two most important things you need on your card, YOUR NAME, and YOUR PHONE NUMBER, everything else is incidental.  Customers are interested in who to talk to and how to get in touch with them, period.

Star Steam Chainmaille Charm Bracelet

The top sellers are a design of earring that is typical among maillers, I call mine "Maiden Faire", the pattern is sometimes called Byzantine or Romanov Weave and can be done in a variety of metal, here is a pair in Sterling  Silver with Genuine Malachite Beads.  When I first introduced them to the shop I could not keep them in stock, now I can't sell a pair to save my life.  Also available in copper, or gunmetal tone wires.

Maiden Fair

Here's one of my favorite items on The CraftStar.  This is just adorable, and handmade.  The sun buttons are the real detail that just makes me adore this cute stuffed rabbit (and I have a serious thing for Alice in Wonderland).

Pink Bunny Crochet Toy Child Stuffed Animal


Social networking is essential, and I have no idea if it does any good, but more views equals more visitors and more visitors may equal a sale.  You may find and follow me all over the place.

Facebook Business Pages: 

linkedin: (I am not sure if this will lead to my profile or not)

Offical Websites: 

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