ArtFire Artisan Spotlight: Cynthia Thomson, Divapixie
Posted by sara on 03/17/2010 at 09:41:34
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
My name is Cynthia Thomson, but most everyone calls me Cindy. I work as a public school music teacher in a small district outside of Dodge City, Kansas. Currently I see about 200 students a day, grades kindergarten through 5th grade. I began making jewelry when I first moved to Kansas from my native state of Minnesota in 2003. I didn't know anyone here and needed something to do with my extra downtime on weekends and over breaks. I saw a jewelry-making pliers set in a local Michael's shop and decided to try it out. I have been working with wire and beads every since. I took a class at the local community college to learn other metalsmithing techniques, which I am still working on mastering. I also learned to lampwork my own beads, though I confess there's not always enough time for that in my hectic schedule. I am constantly trying new jewelry making techniques and finding new materials to use. I began utilizing resin in making pendants and other components for my creations. Recently I have begun working with polymer clay though that is still in its early stages of usage for me.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
I'd have to say resourcefulness. I will use whatever materials or tools I have at hand if I think it will create something beautiful or make something more functional.
What role does your family play in your art?
My family lives a few states away from me but they still support me in all I do. My mother frequently tells people about my studio and passes out my business cards. My sister wears a lot of creations and passes on information about where she got them frequently. They also bought me a box full of supplies and tools for Christmas, so they are extremely supportive.
Where do you live and what is it like?
Southwest Kansas reminds me a lot of Rohan in the Tolkien books, minus the mountains. It’s very rolling and golden. It can also be dry as a bone in the summer when the temperatures can exceed 110 degrees. This winter has been uncharacteristically wet so I anticipate our summer will be more green than usual.
Where did you learn your medium?
I read a lot of books and did a lot of research online. I also learned through trial and error. That's how most of my work is conceived as well. I sort of let the wire tell me what it wants to do.
What are your goals with your ArtFire studio?
I'd like to see my studio sales pick up. The way I view a sale is a little different than some. If something sells, it gets to go to a good home where someone will cherish it and wear it. It also means there's a new spot in my stock for me to create something new, and a new chance to expand my creative expressions.
How did you come to selling online?
My instructor from my metalsmithing class mentioned Etsy in class one night and I thought, "Why not?" It had never even occurred to me that my jewelry could be sold online. So, I went out that evening and started up a small shop.
How did you come to find a home on ArtFire?
A good friend whom I met on Etsy told me about ArtFire. I was so pleased to find this place. The atmosphere and setup here are outstanding. I am very blessed to have a studio space here.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Be flexible and don't be afraid to try new things. Variety is the spice of life. You never know what you can create until you incorporate everything that inspires you.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
I think the quality of handmade products is much higher than mass-produced. This is of benefit to the customer as they are getting more for their money, and in today's economic crunch, that's extremely important. I also think that encourages artisans and crafters to think more innovatively.