Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Please enjoy a few minutes getting to know Diane Wright of Diane Wright Designs, Our Steel Town Etsy Featured Crafter of the Week!

Diane's pieces of delicate beadweaving beg to be picked up and draped on your body so you can appreciate how they move and delight in watching all those tiny beads reflect the light. Find out what inspires Diane in her art and in her city below:

Tell us a bit about yourself –
Hi, I’m Diane Wright and my company is Diane Wright Designs – Handcrafted Jewelry. I grew up here in Pittsburgh in the North Hills and after living in New York and Los Angeles, I decided to come back home. I currently live in Aspinwall with my husband James. We have one son, Jamie, who is a documentary filmmaker and lives in Brooklyn. Prior to creating Diane Wright Designs, I taught English and Theatre at Rogers Creative and Performing Arts Middle School in Garfield – A Pittsburgh Public School magnet. In addition to being affiliated with Steel Town Etsy, I am also a member of the Pittsburgh Craft Collective and Mount Lebanon BNI (Business Network International).

Apart from creating what do you do?
Well, in one way or another I think that I am always creating. I love gardening and have both a vegetable garden and a perennial garden. Since I live in a townhouse most of my vegetables are grown in containers. I also like to travel and last year was fortunate enough to take a trip to China and hold a teenage panda in Chengdu, China.

What made you first become an artist?
My grandmother was a ceramicist so my earliest remembrances were in her studio. It was so much fun. My brother was also a visual artist. I started out in theatre as an actress in New York and Los Angeles and continued working in theatre after I returned to Pittsburgh working with middle school students. Teaching is an art also. After retirement I began creating jewelry in earnest with Diane Wright Designs. I was looking for something to keep my creativity going and I keep learning new and interesting techniques all the time. My grandmother kept creating until she died at the age of 92.

Describe your creative process
I would have to say that my process is organic. I do start with a drawing of concept of what I would like to create but it changes as I work with the piece. I am very flexible in terms of design and know it will change from inception to finished piece. I just keep looking at the work to know what I need to do next. I work mainly with peyote and herringbone stitches for my beadweaving and with copper and sterling silver for my hammered cuffs. I like trying new mediums and techniques and never know how they may all come together.

What handmade possession do you cherish?
I would have to say that the pieces I cherish most are two clay pieces my son made when he was in elementary school – one is a mug with a fox head and the other is an alligator. I also have a tile top wrought iron table made by my grandmother which is a cherished piece of mine.

Name 5 places in Pittsburgh to be
I don’t stray far from home so I spend a lot of time right here in Aspinwall, which is a neat little town. I also like what is happening with Lawrenceville. It is really reinventing itself as a creative and artsy destination. I still like going to Shadyside although it has changed greatly from when I was a young person. I also like going to the theatre – especially the City Theatre in the South Side and The O’Reilly theatre downtown. I think theatre gets into your inner being. I do watch TV and like the dramas like The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy. Although I do have to say Two and ½ Men and The Big Bang Theory make me laugh.

What advice would you give to artists new to the Pittsburgh Craft scene?
Get involved. Get out of the studio and get involved with some of our arts and networking groups that we have here in town. Do local craft shows. Don’t be afraid of not being ready – just do it and enjoy what you are doing. Have fun with your art!!

How do you promote your work?
In addition to having an Etsy site, I exhibit in about 20 craft shows each year in the tri-state area. I also have pieces at Wildcard in Lawrenceville and So Me in Glenshaw. I am also working on a few other shops in which to showcase my work. I also work a lot by referral and do in home/in office shopping and custom work.

In five years, I would like to be…
Still creating jewelry and doing shows. Still having fun!!

To see more of her work please visit Diane's etsy shop at Thanks for the interview Diane!


BarkerBell Herbs and Heirlooms said...

Great article! Please take the time to visit Diane's Etsy shop.


19 Moons Jewelry & Accessories said...

You do stellar work- I look forward to seeing more of your designs!

hairycarrot said...

It was great meeting you at the Gallery Crawl. Thanks again for coming.