How to Become the Artist You Stalk

We all have them. Heroes, movers, shakers in our field of study (or love) that inspire us. Inspire us to create. To do. To become them! I have mine, I know you have yours. People, artists, geniuses that we look up to, like every post on their facebook page, instagram, follow all their Pinterest boards, stalk their Etsy shop for their latest work, and imagine what awesome dinner conversation with them would be like. All to discover that glimpse into their reality, their most creative brain, to see what makes them so … awesome – just hoping some of that inherent genius rubs off on us and makes us just as … well, awesome.

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Thing #1: Find 1 specific thing that you love that they do. Study it. Really study what it is and why you love it so much. Is it one beading technique? Their soldering lines are non-existent? The polish on their finished pieces is perfectly shiny? Their color palette is reminiscent of what you imagine Heaven will look like? (OK that last one may go a little too far… but you know you know what I mean!) Pinpoint exactly one thing (even though, if you’re like me, there’s 100 things about their work you’re in love with). One thing that you can soak yourself in and do everything in your power to duplicate. The color palette, the sheen, the shape of bead, the (lack of) solder line. And then practice practice PRACTICE. Until either you have it down or you’re sick of it. And if you stop because you’re sick of it, it was the wrong thing to pick. Choose another and go again.

Because the moment that you realize that you just duplicated what you love, you will be inspired (and quite impressed with yourself) with your newly “found” talent. And I give “found” air quotes because it’s not something that you find. It’s something that you work for. YOU worked for it. And YOU did it! That moment will feel wonderful. And you’ll be inspired to find something else that you really want to accomplish and the whole crazy psycho “stalking” phase will begin again.

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And just to write it out so it’s completely obvious – no – we don’t copy other’s work… (with my mommy face on and my finger wag in full force) No no no. We learn from, study, and get inspired by their work. Make it your own. Rock it your way.

The funny thing is… even though you’re learning from another artist and trying your darndest to recreate what you love of theirs… you become your own artist. In the end, you will be the artist that others are killing themselves to re-create.

And while we’re speaking of those we look up to and admire, I’ll share with you an artist whose work I love – and honestly would have a blast meeting for a dinner out one day and picking her brain…

She was featured this week on Etsy’s blog. Katie Johansson of Dollybird. Talk about an amazing eye for color and flare with simplicity! I love her pieces and have picked a few uniquenesses of her work that I’m going to focus on duplicating – in my own voice of course ;)

Whose work do you follow? I’d love to hear – whether it’s another metalsmith, painter, photographer… share! Maybe some of us will discover someone new to stalk too ;) Show them some love and leave links to their work so we can gawk!

Love always,

9 Comments

  • Maria A

    Reply Reply

    Angela Gerhard’s enamel work, is my latest stalk! I recently bought some liquid enamels, an will try some sqrafitto. When my broken arm is healed….

  • john

    Reply Reply

    hi i just send up for your book, but i can’t download it please help.
    i am vary interested in your Apprenticeship can you give me some info on that.

    thank you

  • Hi, love your blog and inspiring pieces! May I stalk you?! lol…My favorite shops and accounts to follow and gawk at are http://www.ashleyweberdesign.etsy.com and http://www.etsy.com/shop/MauraSarabeth Hoping one day to own a few of my favorite pieces from them!

    And praying to learn metalsmithing soon to incorporate my polymer clay and resin obsession.

    Thanks,
    Hana

  • Deborah

    Reply Reply

    I have always been an artist in many ways and only have done very little jewelry making in high school and I loved it! I am very creative and I know this has been a passion of mine that I have wanted to pursue. My question what set of tools do I need to start off with (I am interested in making silver rings, necklaces with different stones and leather incorporated). Where, how is the best way to learn technique? I just need to know where to start, what set of tools I need to get started and accomplish what I want, I have been watching a lot of youtube videos, reading books and following your info/emails but if you have a plan to share with me I would love any help I can get. Thanks so much!

  • Hi Everyone,
    I am actually a gem faceter and only started making Jewelry a few months ago, and I still have a lot to learn about Jewelry, but Its very nice as a Gem Faceter to set your own work in a piece of precious metal.

    The one person I really find to be amazing is Ronda Coryell, and her work is just amazing.
    http://www.rondacoryell.com/

  • I actually have three favorite artists that I stalk.

    My love of creating my own jewelry started with hand stamping. The first book I bought was Lisa Nevin-Kelly’s book. I have since flown out to Redwood City, CA where her shop is located (Beaducation) and have worked with her through onsite classes she holds occasionally. She had a guest artist for one of the all day classes. His name is Joe Silvera, metalsmith…amazing. I stalk his work and craftsmanship constantly.

    Joe’s website is silverajewelry.com

    Here lately though I admire the work of KBerlin
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/KBerlinMetalsmith

    • laura

      Reply Reply

      I agree! All of those are amazing artists! I love KBerlin’s spinner rings, those are definitely something to try to emulate ;)

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