Christi Anderson has been working with metal clay since 2005. Rather than saying this is her business or a hobby, she tells her it's her life; that she hasn't put it down since she first discovered it! This obsession with clay has led her to be a very successful artist. She doesn't teach much by her own admission, doing maybe one or two classes each year. All of her income comes from selling her jewellery, including her Etsy site, various shows throughout the year and many loyal clientele who love to collect her pieces.
In addition to this Christi's work has won many awards, including the Bead Dreams Metal Clay award in 2009 and 2010. She has been published in the PMC Annual and she is now a finalist in the Saul Bell Awards with not one but two pieces making the final cut. She is also one of Cool Tools featured artists in their Metal Clay gallery and had projects printed in magazines like Belle Armoire Jewellery and Art Jewellery
|One of the two Saul Bell finalist pieces entitled Fiary Castle |
Christi is known for her amazingly intricate and detailed work which largely seems to have fairy-tale or enchanted themes, however, there is a dark underlying feeling to her work too, something almost macabre, a fairy-story with a sting in the tale.
She tells us she likes her work to tell a story and have a strong connection to the wearer; books to keep secrets in, story lockets with bewitching themes and hearts with a history. Christi loves Art Nouveau and is particularly fond of the work by Kerr and the Unger Brothers. She also loves the mourning jewellery of the American Civil War period, and says that some of her work is distinctly Steampunk.
When working on her pieces, she tells us that her studio is a section of her house which is comfortable with a huge TV so that the kids are kept happy when they are about. She also has several indoor bird aviaries which house Australian and African finches. These are a constant source of entertainment for her as well as giving her inspiration.
She loves using PMC+ and prefers it to any other type of clay. She finds that she gets the best detail from it and that the texture of the clay reminds her of porcelain. The tool she uses in most of her work is an Xacto knife carving the various intricate details that are her trademark, but her favourite is a tool she bought from Bob Burkett, sharpened at both ends and twisted in the centre. She uses it for her intricate carving.
|The second Saul Bell piece - entitled The Guardian |
So with all her glorious work, does Christi have any favourites? Well it appears she does, her favourite is her pendant named 'Garden of Good and Evil' which was inspired by a visit to a New Orleans cemetery. Christi tells us 'I love cemetery art and I planned a trip to New Orleans with the kids one summer. I didn't find the cemetery I was looking for until late in the afternoon, just about twilight. I climbed the fence and took wonderful images. (I was a photographer for 11 years and this is my pet hobby). I found the birds settled and a stillness, I felt that I was being watched. I returned the next day to continue shooting and found the grounds alive with birds! Hurricane Katrina had knocked all the stained glass from the windows and the vines had flourished in the dampness and now climbed through those fancy metal plates. There were so many bird calls I couldn't begin to identify them all. Nesting in vines, window sills, trees, and even the statues themselves! It was enchanting! So one side of my garden of good and evil is the night I found the cemetery and the watchful stillness. The other side is the daytime jaunt and the different atmosphere that had overcome the grounds!'
|The Garden of Good and Evil Window side|
|The window in the cemetary - the inspiration!|
|The Garden of Good and Evil Door side |
She is currently working on a special piece called 'Sleeping Beauty's Heart' which features a stone heart with lots of spider webs, with mice crawling around, a cat sitting in a window waiting and a bird on the sill watching. It is then covered in thorny vines with roses.
And what's next? Well Christi's time is mostly taken up with commissioned work, so it could be anybody's guess. One of the good things about 80% of her business coming from commissions is that she's not sure what will come next. However, that can raise its own challenges. Because of the time pressure she finds it tricky to complete her work with all the details she would like to include. Plus the fact that there is very little time to make something for herself! But, she's never stuck for inspiration and her sketchbook is always full of ideas.
To see more of Christi's work and perhaps create a little story of your own, please visit Christi Anderson's website and her Cool Tools gallery.