Artists and thinkers coming together to promote fine crafts, innovation, and honest sustainability.

The best and brightest artists and thinkers coming together to promote fine crafts, original thought, and honest sustainability.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weekly Featured Artist & GIVEAWAY: Carrie Bilbo Art Jewelry

I suffer from New York envy. This week's amazing artist is a lovely lady named Carrie. Carrie lives in Brooklyn and looks at a navy shipyard all day (see below) while creating her work...and it shows. 
Her work has a natural feel, with a hard edge that is decidedly urban. I think people in New York are just cooler than me. It's really not an inferiority thing, I'm just pretty sure that living New York actually makes you better than me. I am totally ok with that, as long as you keep making amazing things and letting us Californians who's studios overlook cu-de-sacs enjoy it! 

In all seriousness, Carrie's work is beautiful, architectural, unique and full of life. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

Name: Carrie Bilbo 
Business Name: Carrie Bilbo Art Jewelry

The Basics (This is actually Carrie's full bio... it was such a good read, I didn't ant to trim it! -ib): It is the physical contact with the materials and the possible metaphysical implications that most excites young jewelry artist Carrie Bilbo. How a primal psychological experience can be evoked from the personal display of natural forms is the subject of her most recent collection of works, The Attachment of Fear. Her wearable sculptures, based on human phobic fears are painstakingly natural. Silver branches, gleaming cicadas and bejeweled spiders offer nature’s beauty while dramatically attaching themselves to the body physically as well as psychologically. Connecting and interacting with the body through texture, color and sound, these pieces become attached to the very bodies that instinctively fear them. Nylon Magazine described the collection as “ridiculously edgy and chilling, but also impeccably crafted and wearable.”

A graduate of Pratt Institute, Carrie Bilbo studied painting and drawing before discovering her most expressive medium was in metal. She graduated with honors with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing in 2009. While studying jewelry design, she worked summers and school breaks in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio as a jeweler for a custom jewelry shop, creating pieces in gold and precious stones. At just 22 she has already received numerous awards and honors. At Pratt she was named a finalist in her class foundation year, was the third place Junior Jewelry Review winner and received the First Place Senior Jewelry Award. She was named a finalist for the Windgate Fellowship and since her graduation she has shown in juried exhibitions and shows including the National Enamelists Society Show in San Jose, California and the 2009 Craftforms exhibition in Philadelphia where her work was selected for the jurors choice award. She also exhibited at SNAG’s 2010 No Boundaries show and Exhibition in Motion in Houston, Texas. Recently Carrie was named a NICHE award finalist.Her work has been shown in Vogue Magazine, Nylon Magazine and Art Jewelry Forum.

Organic and expressive is how Carrie describes her work. Each piece is a well- crafted work of art. This style stems from her interest in painters like Gustav Klimt and the German/ Austrian expressionist movement as well as the Art Nouveau movement and jewelers like Rene Lalique. Jewelry is more than just decoration, it is wearable pieces of art, and what better canvas is there than the human body? Carrie has joined her love of creating, painting, the human body and mind, and expression to create her unique and enticing art jewelry style. 

Carrie now resides permanently in Brooklyn, New York where she continues to create her organic and expressive sculptural jewelry made of precious metals and stones.

1. What five words best describe you? observant, perfectionist, intuitive, reliable, determined

2. What five words best describe your work? Organic, Expressive, sculptural, pensive, detail

3. What was the very first art form you fell in love with, and, do you still do it?
It is hard to say which art form was my first, because I grew up around art and doing crafts. My mother is an art historian and runs a college art department, and when we were little ran a summer art program for kids as well. So I was always drawing, painting, and doing crafty things growing up, like creating sculptures from trash and old boxes in our basement. When I began to get on a more serious level about art though, I got really into colored pencil work, which led to painting. Painting turned into my passion and was my original major in college, until I took my first jewelry class. Painting is still my passion and, although I don't do it as much as I would like too, I do indeed still paint.

4. What was your very worst ‘real’ job? I can't say I have ever had a 'worst' real job. I have enjoyed, for the most part, all my jobs I have ever had. But my least favorite of my jobs I guess was working for this person, where I just worked production and made his/her jewelry line for him/her. The only reason I disliked this most is because I have a hard time respecting and working for someone who knows much less about jewelry then I do and does not make any of their own work. So when I'm not paid very well either, it is hard to do this day after day.

5. Is artwork your full-time life? Or, if not, are you planning to make it that way? If so, what’s your favorite part about being a full-time creative? Artwork is my full-time work for the most part. In February I official started my own company and since then that is what I have been doing. I do have some other random jobs on the side though. I work with a ceramicist once a week, I do freelance jewelry design work for companies every once and a while, and I was a census worker for about 2 months. If something short or part time comes up, I will do it, but for the most part my main focus is my jewelry business. My favorite part about being a full time creative… is being a full time creative. It can be a lot of work and a lot of stress, that is always there, but I can't complain because I am doing something I love as a full time job everyday and not everyone can say that.

6. What do you think is the single most important thing you could tell an artist just starting out? Probably one of my favorite lyrics and the quote I live by, "Hold on, Dream Away." Basically don't give up, hold on to yourself, and hold onto your dreams. Don't let anyone tell you differently. If doing art is your passion, never let that go. If you need to take a waitressing job, or something of that sort, to survive and pay the bills for a while, then do so, but don't let go of your dreams and your passion. Keep working, creating, and making things…. always.

7. What is your favorite way to distribute your work (craft shows, online, galleries, etc…), and why? As of right now I sell online through Etsy and 1000 Markets and also at several galleries and boutiques around the country. I love both Etsy and selling at boutiques, but as Jeweler with a fine art background I really love making larger more sculptural and conceptual pieces and having them shown and sold in gallery shows. 

8. What are your five favorite blogs and/or websites?
I feel like I am one of the only people, these days, who does not have blogs they look at constantly and daily. So when asked this question I am always blank. I am totally guilty though of checking my Facebook and Gmail about 10 times a day. My most frequented websites would have to be Facebook, Gmail, Youtube, Hulu and Netflix. I do like my friends' design blog and one of the boutiques I sell at in Phili has interesting things on their blog as well, Then for jewelry you can not go wrong with It is always amazing to look at.

9. Favorite artist? Very hard to pick just one. It is a toss up between Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. 

10. Guilty pleasure? Twilight…. I know so bad, but so good.

~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~

Carrie has generously offered one winner: 
A special gift of this amazing twig ring (in silver) in your choice of aquamarine or smoky quartz (or the winner may claim a $40 gift certificate for Carrie's Etsy shop instead):

- Go to Carrie's Etsy page. Find your very favorite item.
- After that, come on back and leave a comment below telling us what your favorite item was and why (the 'why' is the part we really look for when deciding on a winner... so be creative! Tell us how you would use it, why it appeals to you, what you find unique about it....that sort of thing).

You may enter only once (but keep reading for the loophole on that). The contest is open until 4pm Pacific time on the Monday following the original feature (so it's open for about six days). Winners will be posted on Tuesday morning, along with the new featured artist's piece. If you have any questions, please contact me, not the artist.

IMPORTANT: If you want to be contacted (if you are the winner), you need to leave your email address in your comment (I suggest spelling out the @(at) and the .(dot) to avoid spam from internet crawlers, or you may also leave your Etsy screen name, if applicable. If you don't leave either, you need to check back and contact me by the Friday following the contest ending to see of you won, and will need to email me (see Winner's Box in the upper right sidebar).

Bonus Entries- **You can earn an extra entry for each of the following: Follow my blog and/or follow me on Facebook. Both links are on the right-hand sidebar. Just make sure you note that you did these in a comment below!**

Please note: The winner is chosen by me and the featured artist based on your make 'em good! We make no claims that the selection is random:) It is between you and the featured artist to coordinate the getting of your loot. I make no personal guarantees about time-frame for delivery, value, or condition of the winning item.


michelle said...

I think the twig rings are my favorite. They are the perfect addition to a fall and winter wardrobe.


DLanieBlaze said...

I instantly resonated with Carrie's Blue Twig Ring - although all of her creations are heARTfully gorgeous pieces. As a Pisces, I'm drawn to unique, shiny objects and I particularly love those of a more "earthy" variety. As an artist and musician, I get through this world by using my hands to create words that run together, music, or painting anything that stands still long enough. But, my lifestyle also makes my love of jewelry very conditional, and I tend to be quite picky. I love the wide, flush bands that don't get in the way, and I'm particularly drawn to rings because that's the part of us that does the most giving to the world. As a matter of course, I've always thought that our jewelry tells our stories, and a much-loved well-worn piece carries our energy. I am blessed to possess a plain silver bracelet that contains a portion of my parents' ashes, with their birthstones of peridot & diamond set in small cabechon settings. The Blue Twig Ring seems like the perfect accompaniment; it's my birthstone (aquamarine), so a logical choice to complete the magical trio that represents the three of us. The twig design is perfection; a reminder that in our intricate and unique ways, we wind around each other, sharing our time here and our stories, but always return to the earth.
Beautiful work, Carrie! Thank you for creating your art!
D'Lanie Blaze
Los Angeles, CA

Catherine said...

I follow your blog.

Catherine said...

The gold twig ring is my favorite (although the perfect drama Good Fortune earrings were running a tight second). I love that it is a truly organic piece - - it reminds me of something left behind by a fairy - - a piece that is both magical & romantic, but not frilly and too girly. I imagine myself putting it on and NEVER taking it off...and that's saying a lot because I'm a diehard ring changing girl at heart.

Kristen said...

I like the Blue Druse ring. I find that people really tend to notice rings because your hands are right there in front of them and when you wear something unique like this ring they say "Ooooh!" Also my mom tends to like larger rings and I like smaller ones, but this is right in between so we could both wear it (we like to share!).

couponboss at gmail dot com

Heather said...

The Mating Earrings are my favorite. I think they are great for a night out or a casual day when you still want to look nice. They are abstract and artsy but are still organic-looking.

j,d and little b said...

I love the blue twig ring. I love when things remind me of nature. I live in Hawaii, and am surrounded by beautiful nature every second of every day. I just love the organic feel in what I am wearing and in my surroundings.

Grace said...

The cicada wing pendant. It is beautiful and would remind me of the dead cicada my daughter found, observed, studied, and photographed. It would remind me of children's infinite curiosity of the natural world.

myyearinhaiku at gmail dot com

ABCDErica said...

I just adore the moth necklace. It reminds me of a time in elementary school when I absolutely went nuts after a moth came up to me. Now that I'm older, I realize how silly it was! How scared nature can be, but how astoundingly beautiful it is. I've learned to appreciate and love the creatures we live among, and the necklace would serve as a reminder :)

ABCDErica said...

P.S. I follow your blog!

CraftyGiveaways said...

I really like the "Single Blue Twig Ring." Just the shape of it is very unique. I've been looking for a ring to buy all week and none of them have looked anything like this! I like that it looks so "rough" but is beautiful at the same time.

getoverit2090 [at] hotmail [dot] com

CraftyGiveaways said...

I follow your blog

getoverit2090 [at] hotmail [dot] com

arteriole said...

My absolute favourite piece is the cicada blue wing pendant! It reminds me of a very famous passage in Homer's Iliad that I studied in college - when Helen looks down from the towers upon the gathering grecian warriors, the trojan elders whisper amongst themselves of her beauty:

"There's nothing shameful about the fact that Trojans and well-armed Greeks have endured great suffering a long time
over such a woman - just like a goddess, immortal, awe-inspiring. She's beautiful."

Wearing a cicada pendant, I would feel as lovely as Helen herself!

Thanks for such a fabulous give-away!

arteriole {at} ymail {dot} com

jhitomi said...

I love the Silver Wing Shape pendant. At first it is unsettling to see a single wing. How does a creature fly with only one wing? How will it get to where it wants? But then you see the shape for what it is, a free form beautiful piece that symbolizes nature, freedom...and flight.
jhbalvin at gmail dot com

Ravenhill said...

Oh, I adore the twig rings... they are so lovely and earthy.
emily xo

Melody said...

I love the Twig Ring. Aside from the fact that it's beautiful, I just love the flow and shape of tree branches that the ring captures in such a lovely way and the silver with the quartz stones makes it a little bit magic.

Melody . DuVal [at[ gmail [dot[ com

Melody said...

Following your blog!

Melody . DuVal [at[ gmail [dot[ com

Melody said...

And I liked your facebook

Kelle's Kitchen said...

I really like the single twig rings, but I also really like the branch hairpiece :) Thanks for the giveaway!

krherning at yahoo dot com

oona. said...

The Cicada Stack Rings caught my eye immediately because they are so chunky and textural, yet elegant. The set reminds me of my husband and daughter and myself, and all the love in our tiny family.
Thanks! foxsquirrelrabbit at gmail dot com

oona. said...

I am also a new follower with GFC (oona)
Thanks! foxsquirrelrabbit at gmail dot com

Rachel said...

I like the Blue Twig ring because it would go with earrings I already have. Thanks for the giveaway!

Linda Kish said...

I like the men's cicada ring because it is interesting and unusual.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Amber said...

I really just adore the Gold Branch Bangle because it is simultaneously rough and raw yet delicate and full of grace. It totally embodies the style I strive to achieve every day. And it inspires me to embrace the beauty in imperfection.
Thank you for the giveaway :)

Amber said...

I follow your blog with google friend connect

Thank you for the giveaway :)

jakiesmom said...

i love the blue twig reminds me of the right hand diamond ring i got a few yrs back from a traditional jewelry store..(that already lost a diamond) the twig ring is so much more unique, earthy and beautiful
nannypanpan at

clenna said...

I love the Raw Stone Rattle Necklace- the stones are so organic. They pull me into them - I see the ocean and the sky. I feel calm and peaceful.

clenna at aol dot com

Julie said...

I love the Silver Branch Bangle. It is just so organic and beautiful. I love nature and I always have, I've just graduated with a degree in environmental management and protection. This bangle (as well as all of Carrie's work) is just so inspiring and super pretty!


very married said...


i love this:

because you can either just have the one if you're feeling like a "simple" day or stack a few if you feeling a little more adventurous!

Oh, My Darling said...

I love the Cicada Wing Pendant (small) because, when I was growing up in rural Pennsylvania, my friend Emily and I used to collect cicada shells for fun (why? I'm not sure anymore, I suppose we were outdoorsy tomboy sorts). This necklace would be a perfect grown-up way to remember that childhood activity.

omydarlingblog(at)gmail(dot)com said...

I would choose the Cicada wing Pendant in small - the blue preferably. It reminds me of my sister-in-law who recently was injured while horseback riding. She is an amateur photographer at 16 year old who also founded an environmental activism organization called Beholdance ( at age 13. She's been able to grow the organization to not only her high school but others as well. She aspires to become a vet and at the top of her class, I have no doubt that she will. It's funny to me that she's so much younger than I yet I admire her so much. She raises thousands of dollars to save various endangered species and fund surgeries for the smile train every year. She's one of the hardest working people I know - definitely the hardest working teen! She is a very rare 16 year old in my opinion. She takes in injured animals and strays. She works at the zoo and volunteers at the Raptor Center. I'd like to give this to her. Because she spends so much time on others and helping the environment, she never has time for herself. Likewise, her money goes to furthering treatments and research for animals so she never shops for herself. It would be nice to give her something special that I'm sure she would wear and treasure every day. She could keep something she loves so close to her heart.

jhitomi said...

my extra entry for following your blog (gfc under name jhb) and subscribed to email...p.s. loved your tutorial on making sandals with flipflops, I'm going to try it!
jhbalvin at gmail dot com

Ângela said...

I just love twig rings. Are apparent the perfect example that God gave us, gorgeous materials worked by the hands of true artists. The blend of silver, platinum and quartz in true harmony, just beautiful.

Ângela said...

My extra entry for following your blog.
angelasantos dot mail at gmail dot com

Yasmin said...

Honestly, I couldn't pick just one thing from the shop. There's so much that I just want to save up for and buy. I love how nature is incorporated into almost all of your jewelry. I feel that most people who would try something as bold as the "Bark Ring" (one of my favorites), couldn't pull it off. The "Bark Ring" is really bold and unique, and practical enough to be worn, but still makes a statement.

The "Twig Ring" is another item I love. My favorite piece of jewelry are rings, and I love how there are so many to choose from. The "Twig Ring" is quirky, but subtle, which is something I really like about it.

I've never seen anything quite like the items in the "Carrie Bilbo Art Jewelry" Etsy store, and I don't think I ever will. The name of the store describes something perfectly. The jewelry are pieces of art. Art is something unique to the designer and can never be replicated.

So keep up the amazing work. I wish you all the best.

alionandalamb at aol dot com

Yasmin said...

I follow you via Google Friend Connect.

alionandalamb at aol dot com

Yasmin said...

I am a "liker" of yours on Facebook.

alionandalamb at aol dot com