Apr 212010

I first met Christy online. I hadn’t really spoken to her much, I would just see her posting on occassion on some forums I frequented. Then one day I received an email stating she wanted to come to the Jewelry Artists Retreat. That was in 2008. She came, not knowing any of us, and fit right in immediately. I am very honored to call her a friend.



Tell us a bit about yourself – where you grew up, your childhood dreams..was art a part of that?

When I was a little kid, maybe 7, in upstate NY, my sisters and I would get a present from our grandparents. One for all of us. We got a record player. Awesome! I took it to the basement and made myself a potters’ wheel, good for one (quick) use. I put a piece of cardboard on the turntable, got my clay and some water… I’d say art has always played a part in how my mind works, yeah.

Where are you located now?
Currently we live in Virginia. I love it here. It could be warmer longer, but for the most part it’s great.

Describe your studio/creative space:
I have a big room on the first floor of our home that I rearrange constantly. I try to leave enough room open to have 4 or 5 people come and play with me. When we were building the house, people wondered what kind of weirdos or physically disabled persons would put industrial linoleum and a vent through the wall into a downstairs bedroom. 

How did you get into jewelry making?
I’ve always made stuff.  Actually, this go-round, we saw some beaded bookmarks for sale in a bookstore and thought – pfft -I could do that! Started looking at beads in Michaels, realized I could make those.. Began lampworking in 2003. My heart has been into metalsmithing since I saw the movie Johnny Tremain is elementary school. When he poured that molten metal – whoo boy! So first opportunity I took a beginning silversmithing class at William Holland. 2004 I think. Can’t recommend that place enough. It’s a real “pass this skill onto future generations” place.

If you could go back to the beginning and do one thing differently, what would it be?
I would have begun sooner. I spend too much of my life not doing things that I want to do — for lame and unacceptable reasons, usually cost or time or just thinking I shouldn’t do it for me… Lame and a waste of time!

How would you describe your style? 

I don’t think I have a style.  Organic? 

 What makes your work unique?
I don’t think I devote enough time yet to it to say my work is unique. Some day. I put a lot of prayer for the person who will eventually wear it into each piece. That might be sorta unique, but most likely not.

What are your favorite materials?
I am a sucker for gold. I love gemstones, glass, sparkly thangs. I like plain old river rocks and fossils. Love cabs from the earth with gorgeous pictures in them.

Has the internet affected your work/business? If yes, how so?
When I was devoting more time to putting work up on the web, I sold a good deal. Life and work has gotten in the way for awhile, but everything goes like tides and seasons, so I know I’ll be back in full swing at some point. I do love having access to so much information and inspiration, though. And I love that I have made so many lifetime friends through the internet.


What are your thoughts on:
“inspiration, imitation, infringement – when similarities in work go too far”

 Here’s my opinion about that. There is nothing new under the sun. OK, maybe plastic. Plastic is new. If we were in some kind of situation where only the exact same people viewed our work it might be an issue. But honestly, I look at books about ancient adornment and am awed by the skill and designs employed thousands of years ago without modern tools! I think there are a lot more issues in this life and world worth worrying over than whether somebody’s earrings look like mine.

How do you deal with periods of “creative block” or low creativity?
I funnel it elsewhere. Usually happens when I have too much work going on.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received related to your craft/business?
When I took my first silversmithing class with Don and Ann, I showed them a pair of earrings I love and said I’d like to learn how – did they think I’d ever be able to? Ann said, “Of course you can do that!” That’s the best dvice. You can do anything you want to. You just have to have patience and work through the steps to gain the skills.

What’s the best advice you could give someone just starting out?
Believe in yourself. If you mess up, so what? The world will continue to spin and that’s one less mistake you have to fulfill before attaining your goal, honing your skills.

Who are some of your favorite artists and crafters?
Currently? Michael Boyd. Michael Boyd. Michael Boyd.

What do you do when you aren’t working on jewelry ?
I am a graphic designer. I’m in front of the computer most of every day. Oh and always learning new software relating to that work. I also have a husband and 5 kids, only one still at home till she goes off to college in August. On the best days I’m spending time with her!

What would we be surprised to find out about you?
I used to be very outgoing and a political activist. And 2” taller. : – (
I like a wide variety of music, it makes me happy. 
Define success for us, what does it mean to you?
Success is when your friends and family think you are the best at what you do relationship-wise. Mother, Father, sister, brother, friend… Anything else you do successfully is just gravy – or icing; the good topper. 
Where would oyu like to see yourself in ten years?
I would like to be spending a lot more time at the bench, particularly working with gold, precious and semi-precious stones. And I’d like to be teaching occasional classes to beginners at places like William Holland. 


Anything else you’d like to share?
Well, I have a big bag of tootsie rolls. 
 Some of Christy’s work:



you can view more of Christy’s work here:
To see past SPOTLIGHTS, click here 
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 Posted by at 1:20 pm

  7 Responses to “SPOTLIGHT! Christy Phelps”

  1. You are one talented and funny lady – you’ve got mad skills!

  2. I count myself lucky to have gotten to know you, your passions and your incredible talent! I can’t to come play in your studio next month! You da bomb woman!

  3. Christy is my sister. Actually, we’re twins, born quite a few years apart, but she got all the talent. I love her dearly and am extremely envious of that talent. On the other hand, I am the real princess. So it’s a trade-off.

  4. Christy is a wonderful artist and I feel so blessed to know her and to be able to buy her newest and latest creations. She is a very unique soul and now I want a tootsie roll!!

  5. Christy, you are so funny. And amazing. And awesome. I stand in awe of your talents, and I love your sense of humor! I love your beads. And your jewelry. Can I have your ring now? OK, I’ll settle for a tootsie roll, too.

  6. I too am her sister, very proud to say that, and totally blessed to share that information. She is so amazingly talented that I sit back in awe of her. She is wise beyond her years, and devoted to relationships and giving her best to those around her.

  7. Christy, You are amazing, wonderful, funny and talented!! I can actually hear your voice when I was reading your responses. I’m so happy I’ve gotten to know you.