The origin of much of what you will find here lies within my family, particularly my
dad, who was a talented artist and an accomplished metal smith in the style of the Modernists. He came from the old days in Greenwich Village, NYC, where the Arts & Crafts Movement thrived. Since the time I was very small he encouraged and nudged my brother and I towards the arts as a lifestyle and career. In those early days, he was an industrial arts teacher in schools for troubled adolescents in Harlem. Between his teaching ability and creative nature, at home we were immersed in all aspects of the creative life. While we were still quite young, my dad left teaching. Times in NY were very troubled and while he was teaching, the race riots broke out in the city, and things were not getting any better. Before leaving teaching altogether he took a leap of faith and found a tiny and affordable storefront (pictured here) in our suburban NJ town. My parents tried it out with just a handful of my dad’s pieces and my mom minding the shop while my dad commuted into NY, and as the situation in the NYC schools deteriorated, we began our journey as a family into the world of the artist’s studio as a full-time endeavor.
As my working life began, and for many years, I took my creative abilities and applied them to a career in the graphic arts, but my heart was still a captive of the workbench, the smell of oil paint, or the charcoal smudges I would see in the mirror after a night in the drawing studio.
In 2002, tragic events occurred that set my life on a new course. As New Year’s day dawned that year my dad died suddenly after a brief illness, and in one terrible instant our lives changed forever. He had been our anchor; a storehouse of knowledge on every topic; fixer of everything from jewelry to household furnishings, to the broken heart or the tired soul. As we struggled with the shock, my mother and I agonized over what to do with the little studio, and as we did, people came from everywhere to share our grief, they begged us not to close even though we now had so little to offer. So at 38 years old and well into another career, I sat down with a whole bunch of tools, many of which I probably still can’t put a proper name to, and decided to try to figure this out. In the first couple of years I could not accomplish much, as there was so much to learn. I took a couple of classes at a small craft school local to me and was lucky to find a teacher to start me with the basics and set me on my path. As these last years progressed, I kept at it whenever I could squeeze out a little time, figuring things out along the way as I improved my skills bit by bit, and opened the studio to the public on Saturday afternoons only. Then in 2007, just as I was becoming more comfortable with my skills, another major change occurred when our tiny studio was hit by a car in a high speed accident, knocked off it’s foundation, and immediately condemned. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident, but our situation could not be replaced and our beloved little oasis came to an abrupt end.
Immediately after the accident, my brother and sister-in-law pitched in and helped me to create a website to try
to salvage the business and keep in contact with my loyal customer base, and then they pushed me to try Etsy. I hesitated:
I though Etsy was great, but my expectations were low because of the sheer size of this place. How could I ever get found? But in 2009 I set it as a goal to open my Etsy shop and give it a try. And to my surprise, I am found… people who never heard of me are willing to set their sights on acquiring a special piece of my work! I have shipped lovingly wrapped parcels all across the United States and around the world, and received notes of thanks and encouragement that I could have never dreamed of from total strangers. Etsy itself has encouraged me as well with coveted front page spots, as well as features in their ‘finds’ newsletter, and ‘voter’ series. And I will continue to make every attempt to step up… with new and interesting work for both my local following, as well the etsy audience that continues to amaze me with treasury spots, blog posts and e-mail notes. I am determined to make a success of what my dad has left me. I invite you to check in now and again to see how our labor of love that is Artigiano is evolving.
Often these days, I have the privilege of a phone call or comment from a friend or customer. They want me to know that a total stranger stopped them to ask after a favorite acquisition… ‘where did you get that?’, or a business meeting where a woman at the conference table could not stop staring at a special necklace. This is my success. And someday, if you’ll give me that chance, I want to make a stranger