Artist Spotlight: Black & Bluebird

While visiting Austin a few weeks ago, I purchased some amazing jewlery from Gretchen at Black & Bluebird Studios.  All of the pieces she had on display held amazing detail.  I wanted one of everything!  I was so inspired by her work I caught up with her and Warren, her boyfriend and partner, about their process.  Please welcome Black and Bluebird Studios. 

i26:  How did you and Warren get started making jewelry?

B&BB:  Warren and I both went to college at Kent State University where we received BA's in fine art.  I was doing mostly textile art pieces for a number of years and was pretty successful, doing several showings in fine art galleries around Cleveland and north east Ohio.  Warren was doing mostly painting and also had several gallery showings around Ohio. We both moved to Austin about three years ago and prior to that I began experimenting with making necklaces.  Upon moving to Austin I began making jewelry full time developing my upcycled/recycled/vintage/re-purposed style that now is the signature of Black & Bluebird Studios.  I was able to teach Warren the jewelry making craft and aesthetic that I was interested in. Now we are constantly developing new styles and signature design with the craftsmanship and process pretty well established.

How would you describe your work?

Black & Bluebird pieces are of a upcycled/recycled/vintage/re-purposed style that has been developed over several years.  We like to find items that are interesting and usually wouldn't be used in jewelry making: bullet casings, miniature locks, tiny vials, and other things that make other jewelry designers say "why didn't I think of that?"

What and who inspires you?

We both find a lot of inspiration from our previous experience working in various mediums. After studying sculpture, textiles, fine art for so many years, these experiences make you a stronger overall artist.  Somehow these experiences seem to make you a stronger jewelry maker and also add to the creativity and imagination needed to make pieces that are different than what most jewelers make.  We both also love all kinds of music and find listening to great tunes all of the time works as a wonderful lubricant for creativity and innovation.

Do you have a message to share with others about your work?

We are both creative and artistic souls we do not create just to create, we create because there is something inside of us pushing us to create new and amazing art.  Follow us on our journey we have only just begun.

Where can my readers find you?

Of course we can be found online. We do all of own website design and development in house, this gives us complete control over our web presence.  We can take the time needed to make a really cool website that is fun and funky,and really different than what most other jewelers have online.  We also have our vending booth that we set up regularly at consistent locations in Austin.  Our booth is located in the lot north of Vespaio restaurant.   Vespaio is located at 1610 S. Congress st., Austin, TX, 78704.  We and many other interesting artisans are set up every Saturday, 10:00am to 7:00pm, weather permitting.  Sundays we can be found at Gibson St. Artists Market, located at Gibson St. and S. Congress.  This is another great artists market showcasing all handmade goods from Austin area artists.  We can be found from 11:00am till' 5:00pm every Sunday, weather permitting.  We also do other events locally and out of state.  Most recently we participated in The Makers Faire in Queens, NY and also The 25th Annual Festival International de Louisianne, in Lafayette, LA.

What is your unrelenting passion?

Our unrelenting passion is to be able to continue working at what we love to do, making jewelry and art.  It is a great privilege to make your career as artists and this is something we never take for granted.  The desire to continue along this career path is enough to ignite the passion needed to continue innovating new pieces and keeping 'fresh'.


Thank you Gretchen and Warren for sharing your work with us! 

Their website is truly fantastic.  Even if you don't have the pleasure of visiting them at a market, you can still purchase items through their online shop. 

all images from Gretchen