In February, I went to an event that we are very fortunate to have stop by annually in Baltimore, The American Craft Council. I have gone every year since 2012, and it is by far one of my favorite things to do, simply because it’s really an art show where I can afford the art. I’ve gone for so long, I actually know some of the artists and makers really well. (I’m looking at you, S Tector Metals.)
This time around, some gorgeous and unique jewelry caught my eye, as well as a lot of other people’s. As I started to chat with Amy of Sun Ah Blair Jewelry, I found out she is from Baltimore and, well, I had to give you all the chance to get to know her too!
Just B More: What’s your art story? What got you started?
Amy Blair: It’s probably all thanks to my mother, who had set up a sort of art studio in our basement. As a child, I would spend hours and hours down there experimenting with the newest art material of the moment, be it oil pastels, origami, papier-mâché or clay. Fortuitous? Perhaps. As a polymer clay artist today, it’s amusing for me to look back at the hundreds of polymer clay cat sculptures I made as a child. It gave me early exposure to the material I work with now. I was also very fortunate to have some great mentors and teachers along the way who inspired me to try new things and taught me to not fear making mistakes.
JBM: What kind of jewelry do you make and what is it made of?
AB: I say I am a polymer clay artist, but in reality I’m more of a surface designer. I create patterns and prints in a variety of ways, my current favorite being watercolor and ink. I then use the clay as the canvas for my patterns and colors. I also incorporate a lot of vintage fabric prints I find while traveling into my work. I love that polymer clay is both lightweight and durable. My jewelry is made to be worn every day and polymer is low maintenance and very comfortable to the touch.
JBM: What inspires your art and designs?
AB: I’m super interested in how color can create an emotion, and I usually create a collection with a story in mind. A lot of my jewelry began as a way of trying to capture a feeling from a place I visited. For example, I made a lot of indigo blues when I came back from Japan because I wanted to relive that deeply refined culture I saw in Kyoto. Or when I went hiking in Norway, I came home and got obsessed with trying to capture a color scheme that would embody the rugged simplistic beauty I found in the mountains. Why are we drawn to certain colors? How do patterns convey a story? These are all questions that I think about when I’m designing a piece.
JBM: Did you study art formally at an art school or was this a hobby that turned?
AB: Yes and no. I was studying at Towson University’s jewelry program for a time until I felt pulled to pursue my dream of sharing my work with others on the road. I learned so much while in the program, but I am so happy I listened to my gut feelings and took the plunge with my business. It’s been a crazy wild ride, learning how to balance creative work with business, and I have had my share of doubts and even wondered if I should go back to school at some point. But I always come back to the core reason why I started creating and that is connection with people. I love doing shows and sharing my work with others in person, listening to their stories, and building relationships with other artists. That is everything to me.
JBM: Is creating your full-time career or a side hustle for now?
AB: Full time, as of now! I am so grateful to be able to live doing the things that make me feel the most alive. I know life is always changing, but I know I will continue creating in one capacity or another no matter what happens in the future.
JBM: I met you at the American Craft Council Show – and you mentioned a program there. Can you speak to that a little more? I’m fuzzy on the details.
AB: Yes, for sure! I just finished my fifth and final year in the American Craft Council’s Hip Pop Emerging Artists Program. The program is a way for new artists to learn the ropes of doing a serious art show like Craft Council. I started out for the first three years with a group of six artists in a shared booth space and then finished out the last two years in a full-size booth. I can’t say enough about how this program helped me grow as an artist. I learned how to do wholesale, how to work with galleries and buyers, and how to just present my work in a better manner. It really pushed me to grow and change at a faster pace and the American Craft Council provided amazing resources and mentors for us. The best thing, though, was getting to know the other Hip Pop artists, many of whom have become dear friends to me.
JBM: Are you showing at all this season? Where can people find you?
AB: I do have a busy season shaping up for the spring. You can find me in Richmond on April 13 at Spring Bada Bing at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. I’m so excited to say I’ll be joining the Baltimore Craft Mafia as a new artist for Pile of Craft this year on April 27, so you can see me there as well! I’m also showing at Philadelphia’s Art Star Craft Bazaar on May 11–12. It’s going to be a great spring!
JBM: If they can’t make it out to the shows, how can people purchase your work?
AB: Feel free to check out my website. You can purchase my work there, as well as see the stores that carry my work, along with my upcoming show schedule.
JBM: Are you on any social media? What are they?
JBM: Best way to reach you?
AB: Email is usually fastest! Or DM me on Instagram!
And guess what? Amy is doing a give away of the TWO Bowline necklaces (pictured below) for just B more readers!
What do you have to do for a chance to win it? Comment below with your Instagram handle and that of a friend between now and April 23, 2019. And don’t forget to follow @justbmoreblog and @sunahblairjewelry, too!
Don’t have an Instagram? Shoot me an email.
The winner will be announced on Instagram on April 24th, and you can pick up your print at Pile of Craft on April 27, 2019 from 10am to 4pm.
What could just B more beautiful?