Giveaway: Bluebird Earrings from tothemetal

NOTE: This giveaway has ended. Please check for more recent giveaways here!

“Exciting” doesn’t begin to describe this post.  After a five-week dry spell, our famed Westervin giveaways (famed only in my mind, probably) are back in action.  I won’t fawn too much over these sterling silver and titanium “Blue Bird Oval Hoop” earrings from tothemetal, because you can see for yourself how well-crafted and downright darling they are.  But I simply must insist you read the interview with Marina, who is donating these endearing earrings.  She lives in Greece and has talent oozing out of her fingertips!  I for one couldn’t wait to read about her inspirations and the backdrop of jewelry studio.

First of all, how have you been spending your summer?  Gone on any fun vacations or stay-cations?
It has been a really good summer so far! I attended the weddings of some dear friends, I managed to eat at some new restaurants that I’ve been wanting to visit for a while, went to see Dj Shadow perform live (which was so much fun!) and finally last weekend my better half and I spent some time at the summer house. It’s at this beautiful place in Chalkidiki called Possidi, where the water is clear blue and the beach is covered with pebbles. Later on this month we are going to visit the island of Santorini for the first time, something I am really looking forward to.

Where did you learn your craft — metalworking and jewelry-making?  How long have you been making jewelry?
I studied metalsmithing and jewelry design at the Mokume Institute in Thessaloniki for a period of four years. I began my studies in 2004, and I have been making jewelry ever since. So for the past six years, making jewelry has been a significant part of my life — a very fulfilling part I must say!

{ Marina as a child: “in mom’s Mustang in Cleveland, Ohio, where I was born and lived until the age of five.”  How cute is that!}

What prompted you to start tothemetal?  Have you always made your living selling jewelry, or have you done other things?
As soon as I finished my studies I began creating my own line of jewelry, started selling wholesale in Athens and Thessaloniki, I showed my work at various exhibitions and opened my etsy shop. That’s how tothemetal was born! In the past I used to work as an assistant accountant. I earned a really good living, but I was completely unsatisfied with the line of work. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to change my life around and do something that I really love. I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of my loved ones.

How did you come up with your shop name?
I must give the credit for that to my man! One night, before I opened my etsy shop, as we were getting ready to sleep we started talking about the whole etsy thing and we were trying to figure out a name for my shop. I was almost drifting off when I heard him say: “tothemetal; that’s the name of your shop” And indeed it was; it was perfect!

What do you love most about making and selling your jewelry?
The whole process of jewelry making is fascinating to me. Visualizing and designing a piece, figuring out what metalsmithing technique is best suited for it and finally after hard work (which usually sums up to some blisters and cuts!) having a completed piece of work is so compelling. And the selling part is no different; I am so very happy and proud that someone ( besides my family and friends!) appreciates and admires my jewelry enough to make them theirs. I am so grateful and appreciative of my customers’ support.

Have you bought anything from Etsy lately?  If so, what was it, and what do you love about it?
Oh yes I have, and I am so pleased with my purchase! I bought the Lizzy Janssen Gems t-shirt by printliberation. I just love the fabulous design, and I have been wearing it more than I like to admit!

I see a lot of geometric and organic shapes in your work — two seemingly disparate aesthetics, but you seem to meld the two into a cohesive line.  Where do you look for inspiration for your designs, and how do you create harmony between different ideas?
Living in Thessaloniki has brought me closer to nature, and I’ve had the opportunity to observe it a great deal. I feel drawn to it’s organic forms, and I am always amazed by it’s perfection. I am also fascinated by architecture and geometric designs. I tend to read a lot of design and fashion magazines and keep updated through my favorite blogs. But then again, inspiration can appear from a whole different place when you least expect it! The harmony you mentioned I guess comes naturally, it’s all about what feels right

Browsing through your Flickr photos, I saw some older techniques, like filigree, combined with almost futuristic shapes.  Does living in Greece, where the modern world is mingled with icons of antiquity, influence your work?
I think it’s inevitable; it’s almost impossible not to be influenced by Greece’s immeasurable history in art and culture.  Last summer I visited the New Acropolis Museum, and in complete awe, I walked through all those masterpieces, standing proudly in time, that have found a new home in one of the most modern architectural designs.  It was a truly inspiring and emotional experience.

What are your top five favorite places in Greece and why?
– Athens: I could name hundreds of reasons, but it’s one that matters the most — It’s the city I grew up in, and I just love it!
-Thessaloniki: This is my current hometown. It really is a beautiful city to live in; I love the fact that the sea is so near by. My favorite season here is spring. Thessaloniki blossomed is an enchanting sight!
– Chania in Crete: It was love at first site! Chania has immaculate beauties and such a positive energy that makes it so hard to leave.
– Koufonisia island: It has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, and I loved that you really don’t need a car here. You can go around the island on foot or by bicycle. It was one of the coolest places I have visited.
– Elafonisos island in Peloponnese: This is a place you must see, and I have only one word to describe the beaches of Elafonisos – breathtaking!

Do you have a workshop or separate space to create your jewelry?
I used to make my jewelry at home, but it wasn’t really ideal with all the noise and the mess I made, so I decided to get my own space. It’s in a really old historic district in the center of Thessaloniki called Ladadika that got it’s name from the shops that used to sell oil there (ladi means oil in Greek). My studio is in an old office building, and I love that I have my own space to work. It’s my second home!

To enter the giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment with your email address (so I can email the winner).
  2. Increase your chances of winning by telling someone else to enter!  You’ll get one additional entry for:
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    • Each person you refer — ask them to leave your name in their comment
  3. You have one week to enter.  This giveaway ends Sunday, July 18th at 11:59pm CST.

166 thoughts on “Giveaway: Bluebird Earrings from tothemetal

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