Friday, April 3, 2009

Finestra Designs: In some small way, making the world a better place

It's been a long and twisty ride but I'm finally getting back into a schedule. I'm slowly re-introducing the weekly features that I took a break from while dealing with the move, the fire and getting settled in a new home and community.

What first grabbed my attention in Kari Wilton's Etsy Shop Finestra was the stunning use of photography as jewelry. The vignettes of moody landscapes, trees and flowers really speak to my photographer's heart. They fall into the category of so good I wish I'd taken them myself. All of her work is done by hand in her home, her pieces are fade and water-resistant and made to last. Her newer settings are a heavier pewter and now feature her own tree design on the back. These come in both oxidized sterling silver and 14k gold finishes.

Finestra can use any image with any of her settings that a customer emails to her.Any of Kari's designs can be put into any of her settings; and Finestra does a lot of custom work too, one of my favourite pieces in her shop is the Ancestry bracelet. I love the idea of concrete family tree that is also beautiful and special just for me and my parents, grandparents and my children.

The other thing I love about Finestra is her altruistic streak. 20% all of all Finestra's sales are given to the organizations that she really believes in: : CARE , Doctors Without Borders , American Red Cross , Susan G Komen for the Cure , National Breast Cancer Foundation,
The Children's Health Fund ,The Nature Conservancy and AIDS Research Alliance. Her customers get to choose who their purchase is going to help.

To see more of Kari's stunning photography you can visit her website, Kari Wilton Photography

What got you started?

I was shopping on Etsy for Christmas gifts last year. I kept seeing "photo jewelry" for sale which was basically just a photo encased in resin and then put into a setting of some sort. I didn't like the look of the resin so much, and got an idea of how to do it differently. After about two weeks of research I'd found my materials. The Christmas gifts were a big hit and I decided to see how selling publicly would go. It's just grown from there.

Do you have any influences that guide your work?

I've always been incredibly inspired by science and nature. It bothers me that when we're children we're usually encouraged to choose to focus ourselves on science, language, or they're all separate... I chose a more language and art-driven life but always loved the sciences. It wasn't until I got a little older that I realized artists are scientists and vice-versa. The natural world and the incredible ways that it arranges and organizes itself fascinate and inspire me endlessly. I find a lot of meaning in it.

What is your favourite tool, art supply, material to work with and why?

It changes often. I've gone through lots of creative "phases" and get really excited with working with new materials...but my attention span isn't so long. I've loved painting and sculpture and pottery and drawing and gardening, but haven't really stuck to any of them to a professional degree. Photography is something I've done for a long time now and haven't gotten burned-out on. I'm loving my camera and Photoshop and the amount of creative control and opportunities they give me. I love that I can shoot a wedding one day and a series on seed-pods the next and find so much satisfaction in both. I think there's a lot of science in photography, too, which really attracts me.

What life or art lesson have you learned that has shaped you work?

It isn't done until someone besides the artist can see it. I spent a long time making "art" that never left my home or computer because I thought it wasn't worthy. It took me a long time to realize that in doing that, I wasn't just selling myself short, I wasn't growing as an artist. Sharing my work with others has been a huge step that has made the entire process meaningful for me and has inspired me to grow in new directions.

Rock, Paper or Scissors?

Who can argue with the rock? The rock is, was and always will be. I always had trouble accepting that paper covers rock. In real life, paper disintegrates and blows away. Rock rules.


Audrey said...

My gosh those are beautiful!! I love the 2nd last pic.

Rose said...

Oh WOW! Those are all so amazing! I agree with Audrey, the second to last picture is just stunning! Fabulous feature!

cabin + cub said...

those are so beautiful! :)

blackmustard said...

Wow, these are gorgeous! I especially love the moon phases piece! Great feature :)

SleightGirl said...

Those are amazing! I've never really looked at photo jewelry I think I'm hooked!

Angie said...

These are really gorgeous pieces. Something I will be looking at in the future for sure.

Piggy said...

Great pieces! I love the photos. They are so clear and small! Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :)

Shawn Michel de Montaigne said...

Really beautiful work.

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