Steel Town Etsy members Gemma and Lexi of Etsy's mother and daughter duo Lexi and Gem lovingly handcraft jewels that blend two delightful spirits into beautifully simple, sweetly delicate, and memorable pieces. Read on to meet the talented artisans behind their inspired work.
Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
Hi, I'm Gemma (Gem of Lexi and Gem), a stay at home mom of two great kids, Lexi and Connor. I'm married to my high school sweetheart.
I, Lexi (the other half of Lexi and Gem), am currently a junior at North Allegheny High School and hope to one day be a Veterinarian. We live in the Ingomar area of the North Hills and are life long Pittsburghers!
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Gem: I like to hike and garden. I really enjoy cooking and having dinner with friends.
Lexi: I like art, watching movies with friends, baking cookies and shopping.
We both love to travel, and we also volunteer together at Animal Friends as doggy foster parents.
What first made you want to become artists?
It wasn't really a conscious decision. We've always enjoyed doing crafts together, from the time Lexi was a little girl. We've done almost every craft imaginable, from finger painting to candle making. Once we became more serious about becoming artists, we started taking classes and workshops. Starting our business on Etsy was Lexi's crazy little side project that grew totally out of control (in a good way!).
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
When we do gemstone pieces, it's kind of a free for all- we pull out the stones and the ideas start flowing. With all of the colors, shapes, and sizes the possibilities are neverending. When we work with Precious Metal Clay (PMC) to make the fine silver pieces however, the process is much more structured. The nature of the clay demands that ideas already be in place before the creating begins. We often sketch out ideas and cut out templates before we start rolling the clay. Felting is a bit of a mystery in that we choose the colors but the flowers design themselves, the wool being sort of in control. We are often inspired by nature and things around us, and current styles and trends play a role when in designing our pieces.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Gem: favorite handmade pieces are the ones my kids have made. I have their framed artwork hanging throughout our home. I truly loved the Christmas tree we had decorated when the kids were in elementary school, the ornaments were almost completely handmade, I particularly loved the origami garland we made together, sadly it's no longer with us.
Lexi: My favorite handmade piece is the ceramic Merry-Go-Round my mom painted for me when I was little.
Name your top five places to be in the Pittsburgh area, books/authors, movies/TV shows, songs/musical groups, and websites besides Etsy.
TOP 5 Pittsburgh Places
1. The Strip (love the food!)
2. The Three Rivers Arts Festival (so many talented artists)
3. Ross Park Mall (yeah, we like to shop)
4. The Incline (cause the view at the top is amazing, and the ride's pretty cool too)
5 .North Side Farmers Markets (the chocolate chocolate chip raspberry cookies are worth the trip)
TOP 5 Movies
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. The Brothers Bloom
4. A Few Good Men
5. Shawshank Redemption
What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
Don't let your inhibitions stop you! If you love to create, follow your dream. We'd also suggest networking to get support. Joining the Steel Town Etsy team has been wonderful for us. We've met some really talented artist and have learned alot.
What are your favorite features on Etsy?
We like to peruse the front page, especially the featured sellers.
How do you promote your work?
We promote by word of mouth and social networking. We're on Twitter and have a Facebook Fan Page. We've recently started doing craft shows as well, to increase our local exposure.
In five years I'd like to be...
In five years I (Gem) hope to be still creating and I (Lexi) hope to be entering Vet school and creating as well.