Name: Gale and Brad Bez Shop
Name: Fatal Attraction and Jewlgurl (Chloe Jewels)
Shops Link: http://fatalattraction.etsy.com
Location: On the Banks of the Mississippi River (one hour north of St Louis)
Ships to: Global (and universal, when Sir (Virgin) Branson gets it in the air - wink)
What do you do?
We (my art partner/hubby) collaborate on most of our artwork and jewelry output. I design, choose the materials, prep the components and take care of any beading. Brad does the torch work and much of the cold joinery. We both finish out the pieces. We laugh, saying “We would be wa-a-a-y up that stinky creek if either of us lost the other.” We’re utterly joined at the hip when it comes to our jewelry making and we like it this way!
We work in several areas of jewelry design. Many of our Fatal Attraction found object pieces are Steampunk, Industrial, Gothic, Neo-Victorian inspired, while our nature referenced Chloe Jewels Collections are made with precious metals and gemstones.
Brad has worked in the automotive industry (www.auto-alchemy.com) for 30 some years. He’s translated his formidable metal working knowledge into the smaller form of working with jewelry metals. He’s an amazing wizard when it comes to figuring out how to make things. To this day, there isn’t a design that I’ve taken to him that he hasn’t been able to make. Although, he has ‘stress-tested’ a few of the pieces, by throwing them across the room. Not every day or project is a smooth ride, right?
I’ve worked as a professional artist for 30 some years (in between and around raising two daughters). The creation of art has never been far from my hand at any time. Lots of non-profit arts volunteer work over the years, have served as art show curator and hung those shows, taught art classes, done arts PR/marketing work, worked with state Arts Councils, choreographed for our local town theater group and I’ve been a chanteuse all of my life.
How long on have you been on Etsy?
We’re still newbie-babies at Etsy. We opened Chloe Jewels Mar 21, 2008 and then opened our second shop, Fatal Attraction May 22, 2008. We’ve worked in mainstream arts and jewelry for a long time and have always worked in the Steam vernacular (before it was termed Steampunk), using found objects and recycled materials to make jewelry, sculpture and room installations. So, although we’re new at Etsy, we’ve been on the art scene for many satisfying years.
Is this a job or a hobby?
A fulfilling, challenging and lovely job! If we didn’t make art, we don’t know what we would do…it’s such a large part of our day to day existence.
How did you get into your art?
We’ve always made stuff with our hands! It’s in our blood………
My Mom says, when I was just a tiny tot, I carried a little cloth bag of pencils and crayons everywhere I went. Anything that wasn’t moving was fair game as my art canvas. Early on, my parents recognized and nurtured my burning flame to ‘make’ stuff. They made sure I had the opportunity to develop my knowledge and love of the arts.
Brad has always had a superb eye for design and beauty. His father (with whom he turned wrenches, at a young age) taught him about visual proportion, mechanical invention and quality of materials, Brad says his seminal arts experience came when he was in High School. He had the opportunity to see a touring show of the Russian Imperial Eggs created by Faberge and his Parisan Ateliar of Artisans. Brad was profoundly impacted by this experience. He says, “I’ll have to live 5 lifetimes, working as a jeweler before I come anywhere near the expertise of Karl Faberge, but what an excellent goal.”
What do you love about SteamPunk?
It’s so raging OUT OF THE BOX! Wide open to interpretation because of the many layers and references where Steampunk artists draw their inspirations. I love art work that’s impossible to classify in a neat and tidy package - let’s make those art historians work for it - heh!
Do you have any words of advice for Etsy shop owners?
Do and make what you love. Your creative vision will shine through, touching your buyers, in good profitable times and in slower economy times. Don’t contrive work to fit the market - create your own niche with your own unique artistic voice. Diversify your art jobs, when you can. This will help you get through the slow times.
…..and remember, the pendulum always swings back bringing fortune with it‘s movement. Just try to hang in there for the long haul.