Artist Interview: Paula Nettleship of designs2c

Paula Nettleship of designs2c

On Saturday, December 14th from 10am to 5pm, Koolkat will be hosting a Trunk Show for Mt. Lebanon artist, Paula Nettleship of designs2c. Paula is known for her intricate bead work, such as her beaded Swarovski crystal rivoli collection, her versatile designs, and unique color schemes. She was recently invited by the Cleveland Museum of Art to have her jewelry featured in their 11th Annual Wearable Art Fashion Show & Boutique in 2014. Her trunk show is a feast for the eyes, and one of the season’s most anticipated.

Koolkat owner, Kate McGrady adds, “A few years ago Paula decided to focus on off loom sewn designs. Her craftsmanship and design have blossomed into one of our most in demand artists. Paula’s work is intricate and stunning, but she makes casual and glamorous pieces equally perfect for every occasion.”

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Five things about Paula that you may not know:
1. She is a fan of Star Trek, Farscape, Firefly, Doctor Who, and Downton Abbey.
2. She is a phenomenal cook. If she weren’t making jewelry, she might have had her own catering business.
3. She may know more about the British Royal Family than they do.
4. She is a dedicated swimmer.
5. She uses a portion of the money that she earns from jewelry-making to make micro loans to entrepreneurs in third-world countries through Kiva.

Read more about Paula and her beautiful jewelry in this week’s Artist Interview.

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your jewelry business, designs2c.
I started making jewelry with my youngest sister almost eight years ago, never imagining that I would have the business that I today. I began stringing simple pieces and that is my first love. About 3 years ago, I began trying simple bead weaving patterns. It wasn’t too much of a stretch because I learned to sew and embroider from my mom. These skills have served me well as I developed this side of my business.

designs2c-1Describe your studio / working space for us.
My studio is in my 20 year old’s former bedroom. I use his old desk, and removing his old bed let me move in my exploding stash of beads. The desk is always covered with works in progress, pieces of failed projects and little bits of things that might go in to future projects. In short, it is a mess.

Future rivoli earring and necklace pieces scattered across Paula's work desk.

Future rivoli earring and necklace pieces scattered across Paula’s work desk.

What is it like being an artist who lives and works in Mt. Lebanon?
I love living and working in Mt. Lebanon. The community is a great one supporting local business and artists.

What is your favorite part of your arts process?
The best part of doing what I do is creating new things and in new colors. My favorite piece is almost always my newest piece.

Do you have a favorite material / medium?
I am not sure that I have a favorite medium or material. I find greater inspiration in the colors and textures. So, glass and gems are equally cool.

What was the inspiration behind your work?
I was a history major in college and thought about adding an art history minor. I like vintage jewelry and jewelry with lots of color. So ideas come from old portraits and the vibrant color used by the Italian jeweler Bulgari. I also like almost everything Fabergé made but don’t feel it directly affects what I do.

How do your values impact your process?
I try to make things that are unique but affordable. I would hope that almost anyone who liked my work, could find something in their price range. Art and beauty don’t have to be elitist.

If people could only take away 3 things from your work, what would they be?
1. I care about the details.
2. I create pieces that can be worn in a host of situations, versatile work.
3. Striking color combinations.

What was the first work you ever sold?
I really don’t remember, but I probably won’t like it now. Whatever is new is my favorite.

417869_10151403637516576_948754387_nFavorite artist living or deceased. What is it about their work that resonates with you?
Thomas Gainsborugh, John Singer Sargent, and Hans, the Younger Holbein. I have always loved portraits. Now, I use them for jewelry inspiration.

You take a lot of pride in supporting local artists and designers. Why is this important to you?
Life is all about community and your relationship with your community. It is an extension of my faith and comes from my relationship with God.  But supporting local anything also makes economic sense.

How did you first become involved with Koolkat Designs?
I am proud to be artist number 23. I met Kate through a common friend. She came to my first house party as the friend’s guest and told me about this store she planned to open. We essentially started our businesses at the same time. This has been more than a happy coincidence. The year round outlet for my work is the number one reason that I have been able to grow and be so successful as an artist. Thanks, Kate.

Paula organized a benefit for Hekima Place in APRIL 2012.  Pictured left to right: Karen Wolowski, Kate Wagle Hitmar, Paula Nettleship, Hekima founder Kate Fletcher, Kate McGrady, and Samantha Bower.

Paula organized a benefit for Hekima Place in April 2012. Pictured left to right: Karen Wolowski, Kate Wagle Hitmar, Paula Nettleship, Hekima founder Kate Fletcher, Kate McGrady, and Samantha Bower.

What is your favorite thing about Koolkat Designs?
The people. I love the people who run the store. I am lucky to have them as friends and as professional advisers. They have made me a better artist. I love the artists I have met through the store. I love the customers who come in, especially the regulars. To these people we are awesome. They love our work and appreciate the unique aspects of having a business that represents so many local artists.

Guilty Pleasure?
Wine and champagne and chocolate.

Favorite book? movie?
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the book.  A Room with a View, both.

Tell us about the handmade object that you cherish the most.
Two actually. One is the first piece of art glass my husband and I bought at The Seekers Gallery in Cambria California by Donald Carlson. It it s a lovely red bowl. The second is a piece of porcelain that I bought at this year’ TRAF. White with a leaning pine cut into it. It is by a husband and wife team [Tim and Erika Peters] from Peters Studios in Winter Haven, Florida.

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