Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Spotlight On: Sandi Nenga of Quiddity Designs

Today's interview is with Sandi Nenga of Quiddity Designs on Etsy.   Sandi, why don't you introduce yourself?
By day, I’m a mild-mannered sociology professor. No, I’m kidding. By day, I’m a snarky, irreverent, high-energy sociology professor. I research the sociology of childhood and youth, which basically means I spend a lot of time trying to experience the world the way a middle school or high school student does. Yeah, sometimes that makes me crazy. To try to find sanity again, I design jewelry at night.

Crystal and Silver Necklace with Olive Green Navette Drop

Tell us three other things about yourself.
I want to be a telepath when I grow up.
I’m not a telepath, so I guess that means I’m not a grownup.
I know what you’re thinking–don’t laugh at me. Oh crap. This means I’m a grownup, doesn’t it?

What’s your medium and how did you get into it?
I’ve always loved jewelry and wanted to learn how to make it, but could never find time to take a class. One day at a bookstore I started leafing through a beaded jewelry craft book and thought, I can do this! My first attempts at wire wrapped jewelry were rather sad, but fortunately, I bought another book and tried again.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
Right now it’s the Lapis Lazuli Silver Seaweed Necklace in my store. I’d had a bad day and just wanted to pound on something with a hammer. The next thing I knew, all that frustration had turned into this beautiful, shimmering necklace.

Lavender Pearl and Silver Drop Necklace

From where do you take inspiration?
Usually from the silver and stones themselves. I’ll pick up a pretty stone and think, how can I best show you off? But when I’m stuck, I’ll look at jewelry making books and browse Etsy to see if a shape or a silhouette inspires me.

Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
I wish I had created a lovely, water-wise flower garden. I love flowers, but I live in Texas which is currently in a horrible drought, and all the water-hungry plants in my yard are dessicated/dead right now.

What are you doing when you’re not crafting?
It depends what time of year it is. During the school year, I’m teaching, doing research and grading. During the summer, I can often be found doing ethnography at a summer camp, trying to blend in with the high school or middle school students. I also am a proud reader of trashy books (especially books about telepaths).

If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
Why? What do you know about Madame Esmeralda? No, I don’t want to give her up. She predicted I would be a telepath someday and I believe her. In here. *taps forehead solemnly*

Silver and Apatite Earrings

Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.
Actually, it was a custom order. A customer asked me to make some earrings that would match a necklace, so I sent her a design for a bead and a circle dangle. She suggested putting the bead and circle on a short length of chain so they would swing and move more. I tried it and it was such a great idea that many of the earrings in my shop now have that chain element.

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
I make pretty, sparkly things. See? Hey! Come back here with that necklace! No, you can NOT put that on a CAT!

What’s your favorite part of the process?
To design, I usually pull out a bunch of stones and silver shapes and arrange them on a mat. Then rearrange. Repeat a trillion times until I find a design I like. My favorite moment is when I execute the design and it looks even better than I had thought it would.

Red Pearl and Silver Bracelet

One random thing you think people should know.
People who know random things are more interesting than those who know orderly things.

Where can people find you and your work?

What did you want to be when you were ten?
I don’t remember. But when I was 11,  I wanted to own a women’s clothing store that sold pants for every occasion. I was going to name it “Outskirts” and the logo was going to be a skirt with a diagonal red line through it. I did okay sewing vests and shirts, but I never could figure out how to sew pants well so that dream had to be put to sleep... I mean taken to a farm. It’s living happily at a farm. A dream farm. Yeah.

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