Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Better Know an Austin Artist--Natalie Tischler, Ornamental Things

Welcome to the final 2009 installment of my Ask an Austin Artist Some Random Questions™. At first glance it might seem like an interview, but upon closer inspection, you'll find it's really just some stuff I wanted to know. I especially wanted to know about the reuse part. You know I dig that. A big thanks to all the artists who made the time to participate in this series. I've loved getting to better know each of you.

**** Look for Ornamental Things at the Cherrywood Art Fair this weekend! ****

Natalie Tischler, Ornamental Things
Could you provide a brief description of your work?
I make feminine and vintage style jewelry out of inspiring objects that I find at flea markets, junk stores and from wholesale suppliers.

When did you start collecting vintage pieces? 

I have been hitting garage sales since high school. I started collecting vintage jewelry to accessorize my hand sewn clothing as well as the funky old trench coats, hats and scarves that I wore back then. 

Have you always reworked the piece you found or did that come later?
I started making jewelry in the early 1990s. I made long beaded necklaces mixing new glass beads with beads from old necklaces. I turned old brooches into pendants for my beaded necklaces and I once made a crazy choker style necklace by wiring together a bunch of vintage brooches.  I had no idea that I would make a business out of doing that.

Do you have components that you love so much that you just don't have the heart to use them?  
Yeah, in going to flea markets, I often pick up things thinking that I might use them but once I get them back in the studio, I realize that they are just too beautiful to be taken apart. Some pieces of vintage jewelry really shouldn't be broken down and recycled.

Your business has grown significantly in the last few years. Has that growth been positive from a design perspective or do you feel more constraints?
The growth has been positive in that the more jewelry I sell, the more I get to make! The more I make, the more I get to explore. However, my biggest struggle is finding time to develop new ideas.
 What material would you like to work with/or what skill would you like to learn that you haven't yet?
I have been taking metal and casting classes in the past few years. I would like to find more time to mess around with that!

You are stuck on a desert island for a year and can only take 3 things to make with--what would you take?  Wow, I get a whole year to devote to making something?  Yay!  Maybe I would try crocheting collar necklaces with seashells and sea glass so my three items would be crochet needles, tiny golden wire and cutters.
 What things do you find the most inspiring and do those translate into your work? 
I like things that are worn, whether it's wood, paint, old paper or muted colors. I also like things that have special meaning. I definitely think those two inspirations come through in my work. I used a lot of old and worn things and I also try to use symbols that have meaning for my customers.

How do you reuse materials in your business? 
I collect old jewelry, take it apart and mix the old parts with new parts to make a new piece of jewelry.
Have you discovered any new talents while running this business? 
I have discovered that I really like running a business. I enjoy all of the things that I have to do for my business -- like photography, photo editing, website design, accounting work, talking to customers at shows, merchandising and marketing. 

The holidays are upon us. Which of your items do you think make the best gifts? 
I think jewelry makes a great gift. It always fits! If someone comes to my booth looking for a gift, I am usually able to help them determine what is appropriate by asking some key questions about the person. But, generally, lockets and good luck symbols make great gifts!

See more of Natalie's work on her website.

Ornamental Things offers gift certificates and is also available in select stores:

Parts and Labour  -- 1604 S. Congress
Adelante -- 1206 W. 38th Street
Eliza Page -- 229 W. 2nd Street
Vanity Rocks -- 9801 Anderson Mill Rd
Sanctuary -- 3663 Bee Caves Rd, 4D
In other cities, please see the list on the website

Upcoming Shows
Shops and online venues are great in lots of way, but sometimes the best way to see the full breadth of an artist's work is to catch one of their shows. Natalie has several coming up:

Blue Genie Art Bazaar
December 2 - 24
Sunday - Thurday: 10am-10pm
Friday and Saturday:  10am-midnight
Thursday 12/24/09:  10am-6pm
Monarch Events Center
in the Lincoln Village Shopping Center
6406 North IH-35, Suite 3100, Austin, Texas
For more info:

Cherrywood Art Fair
Saturday, December 12 10am-6pm
Sunday, December 13, noon-6pm
Maplewood Elementary
3808 Maplewood Ave, Austin, Texas
For more info:

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