Christine owns and operates a jewelry line called SariBlue. On top of being an amazing person, she is devoted to her line and it shows! Her collection includes cultural inspired Evil Eye bracelets, earrings, and necklaces in wonderfully bold colourings.
SariBlue is this month's very first Wonder Forest Featured Artisan! I got the inside scoop on Christine's business and am so happy to have her here to share it with you all!
How long have you been making your jewelry?
I started SariBlue this past Spring. I have tried in the past to make jewelry in a variety of other formats, and it never worked for me. It was just bad. To be truthful it was very frustrating and in fact a little heartbreaking. I did not have anyone who was supportive and in fact negative forces who were discouraging of any efforts I made towards creating.
For the last 6+ years I have been traveling to Turkey, the culture, history, people and art really took hold of me. Specifically, I was totally drawn to the history and cultural influence of the Evil Eye. Even more specifically the beads, Nazar Boncuk just called to me, I was obsessed. At first I would buy a few pieces of jewelry, then some beads to play with hesitantly. My friends would tell me “you have a great eye for fashion and jewelry you should make a few pieces”. Finally, after getting laid off from my “real job” my daughters, my amazing little muses, were like a light bulb over my head. “Mumma, you have always wanted to have your own shop, you love art, clothes, jewelry, now is the time, don’t wait.” So I didn’t. They gave me the strength and confidence to give it a go. It is a real lesson that things don’t always work the first time, timing is important and so is support. What is really important is self-confidence.
What inspired the whole “Evil Eye” concept of SariBlue?
These last few years have been filled with transition for me. As a result, I started to look at what was important and what was missing in my life. Turkey and culture in general was really a big central part of my soul searching. My background is Italian but the larger family has been growing apart for a number of years and I have realized that the family culture is a big missing piece for me and most likely many of my relatives. Once I started to dig deep into the Turkish culture it was clear the reason I was so drawn to it was although it was very new and foreign to me, it had so many similarities to the Italian culture I was really missing. Even the Evil Eye concept in Italian, il malocchio, was something lost over time, but came rushing back. So it was no wonder the Nazar Boncuk had a familiar hold on me and how comfortable I felt when I started to make the pieces for the first time. I am a history buff and this concept truly brings the entire Mediterranean together.
What is your favourite part about what you do?
Wow that is a hard question. Since I made this commitment to myself that this is what I will do, I have really loved all of it. I do feel like I work all the time, but it is great. I have come from a start-up technology environment and worked really hard for years for someone else. Granted, a great guy with a great group of people, but working for yourself, doing what you love and making your own decisions is truly amazing. I love that I am finally working in a creative environment, it is a true gift. One of the most unexpected and most excellent things so far is the great friendships, relationships and support that happened with the other artisans I have met. I get as excited for the success of other as I do for myself. It is a very rewarding environment, I love helping other people it feels really good, it is really good!
What is your ultimate goal for your shop?
I think I have done the most important thing as an artist, make beautiful things and I want to continue to do this. As a business person I would love to be successful enough to have the shop be my full time gig. Eventually I would like to have a small store front that would house my shop to work from and be the virtual operation center. I would hope we could travel more often to Turkey to develop a closer relationship with the artisans there. I would also like to have local art classes in the shop and perhaps feature other artisans and their handmade work.
Why do you think it’s important for people to buy handmade?
There are so many reasons to buy handmade. People come up with some really creative (LOL) reasons here are a few:
- What you purchase is unique, so much money is spent on items that your neighbor has and their neighbor has and basically everyone ends up looking the same and all self-expression disappears, which to be totally frank scares the life out of me.
- Handmade items are very personal, they are made with passion and love. You often times gain a relationship with the crafter, you know who made it. The piece tells a story and we all need good, positive stories about the “things” in our lives and the gifts we give to one another. Your mother or brother or sweetheart doesn’t need another gift card from Target. Nothing is more thoughtful than a well-made gift that really has meaning and targets (no pun intended) the receiver’s interests.
- Bang for your buck: handmade items tend to be affordable, look at the amazing paintings, original paintings of new artists you can get on Etsy! Oh my!! It is hard every day for me not to fill my own cart! Amazing, amazing undiscovered artists who have so much talent. You can get their work for $20.00. Or you can go to a poster shop and get an overused, jumped the shark poster that is in every doctor’s office from here to Portland for $50.00.
- I won’t get into the facts about buying small helps the environment, supports organizations that have small eco-foot prints, drives business away from companies that use child labour. These are chats that take entire books.
- My last note on handmade will be somewhat selfish, when you buy handmade you get tremendous quality for your dollar while supporting an artisan who is passionately pursuing their dream.
What do you do besides create beautiful jewelry? Any other hobbies or guilty pleasures?
Lately I have been spending all my time on the shop. SariBlue’s jewelry collection has been chosen to be featured in association with The Artisan Group at a luxury Gift Lounge hosted by GBK Productions in honor of The 2012 Golden Globes.
My “One” Evil Eye pendant and earrings will be prominently featured on display at The Artisan Group’s exhibit, and all attending celebrities will receive this signature piece in their swag bags. This event will also be attended by over 75 TV and print media outlets. So I have been really busy getting things ready for the big event! It is really exciting!
Normally, most of my time is spent with my two girls. My personal interests and obsessions outside of the shop are music and movies. I love music, listening to it, learning about the artists and finding new music. Movies, I am a bit crazy about film. So you can imagine how excited I am about my items having involvement with the Golden Globes. I am a particular fan of international film and the GG are my favorite way to rate decent films.
Christine is giving away this MagPie Evil Eye glass bead bracelet (shown above) to one lucky reader!
To enter you must be a follower of this blog. If you are not, head on over to the left column of my page and click the Google Friend Connect "Join This Site" button! (this is how I contact you if you win!)
STEP ONE! Visit SariBlue's Facebook page and "Like" it! Please use your personal Facebook page to "Like" since fan/business pages are not tracked. Leave a comment telling me you did so.
EXTRA ENTRY! Visit SariBlue's Etsy shop and leave a second comment telling me what your favourite piece is!
EXTRA ENTRY #2 - Follow SariBlue on Twitter! Leave a third comment on this post telling me you did so!
EXTRA ENTRY #3 - Share this giveaway post on your Facebook profile, Twitter, or Blog then leave a fourth comment telling me you did so!