After taking a break from last week to celebrate the holiday we are back with this week’s Boston-based, handmade artist, Sari of SariBlue. As a fellow Artisan Group member (theartisangroup.org) I have been fascinated with her use of the symbolic Turkish symbol, the”evil eye” in such a stylish and fantastic way. Sari bases her collection around this protective symbol and infuses an earthy, bohemian, causal vibe using handmade eco-friendly glass beads she collects from her trips to Turkey! Sari’s pieces are alive with spirit, positivity and peace and as she points out “There’s nothing evil about it…”
We spoke with Sari to gain insight into her gorgeous collection:
How did you get started creating your fantastic collection?
I have always been someone who simply falls in love with design, of all kinds. Even as a child I was a bit obsessed with shoes, jewelry, buildings, clothing, basically all art forms. I had a relentless curiosity about music and film as well as a tendency to romanticize history. All of these things still hold true today and add to the core of my personality. I am a seeker! I crave gorgeous notions and ideas. In truth, if a day goes by without discovering something of fantastic design value I feel unfulfilled. So how does this relate to me starting my shop and jewelry collection SariBlue? I am also someone who is a pleaser; I want to make those that are important to me happy, my parents, my babies, my sister, my man. Being a pleaser, you tend to “do the right thing” or listen to the advice of others, or elders, to make sure you make everyone else happy…. So I never paid attention to the voice of art in my head, just the voice of reason.
Cutting to 2011 when I had been through the wringer for years, in start-up high-tech organizations, working really hard for others when the roller coaster of the economy finally caught up with me. I was also in the middle of a pretty deep rooted divorce battle, which would wear anyone to the bone.
Being faced with a much scaled back job, which would not be enough to satisfy or support me and now off with my two girls I was a bit of a disaster. My daughters, who at the time were 6 and 7, were so supportive and amazingly intuitive about what I should do. I had told them how much art meant to me and how I would love to have it be a real part of my life. The girls really pushed me to start my own shop, so here I am. My love for Turkish culture and specifically Evil Eye beads, made the decision easy about what the medium should be for my artisan jumping off point.
What materials do you use mainly?
My materials are essential to my shop, they are what make SariBlue. I take the handmade oath seriously and try to use things from small shops when I need to purchase them and work as eco-consciously as I can. SariBlue is a hip, earthy, bohemian wear-it-everyday jewelry collection centered on the power and theory of the universally recognizable symbol the Evil Eye.
I use Turkish handmade glass beads which are made using centuries old traditional methods. Turkish artisans collect recycled glass pieces, mix them with special dyes and melt in their primitive adobe furnaces that burn naturally clean-burning pine logs. They shape the red hot molten glass, fuse colors together and create these amazing beads using only simple hand tools. Every bead fashioned has its own identity, lending every SariBlue piece its own distinctive nature.
I have many friends in Turkey and have been there so often it feels like home. Either I travel to gather the beads directly from the artisans or I have my close friends stop over and get the beads made for me. This personal connection is important. The artisans are an important link to what I do in my shop. Once I have these authentic beads, I create my collection in my shop outside of Boston, MA. I use various findings including Sterling Silver ball chains, Bali Beads, Sterling Earring Hooks and Sterling wire which I use to create my own connections and links. I also added leather components, crystals and various accents beads to help add a bit of pizzazz to some of the pieces.
Most of the nazar boncuğu (Evil Eye Beads) that are well known in the U.S. are not authentically made boncuğu. The most common beads you see are either plastic, machine made, or clearly not a true representation of the Nazar Boncuk. I love the story and history of the beads and how it can bond family and culture together. For me the boncuğu are not something cheap to be purchased from a reseller who purchased them in China or as a low end grab at a counter… Nazar Boncuk are very special adornments. They hold power and protection as well as a symbol for many cultures throughout history. Not to mention these beads are gorgeous works of art. Creating pieces for people that will appreciate the art form is very satisfying and joyful. To love what you do is a gift and creating the SariBlue Collection is a great gift.
What inspires you?
I often answer this question with: “Everything”…. If you are really looking and content it is true, you can find inspiration in everything and anything. As I mentioned, I adore design, fashion, music, film. Often I will find inspiration for my work in these art forms. Music is critical to me; I need it to be in my creative head space. Also, inspiration for me lately has come very directly from the fantastic artisans I meet. Of course by their lovely work, moreover by their success and ability to be so open with others. So I guess kindness and willingness to share your gift is what is most inspiring to me these days, it is a rare thing and I am lucky to have a great circle filled with people who have this attribute.
Cool facts about your shop and you as an artist?
Sari is pronounced “sutter” in Turkish meaning blonde/blondie/yellow and this is my nickname. My partner Big was the one who gave me this nickname. I have written before that in Turkish culture Blondes are not very common and when I first met Big he would call me Sari or any number of variations of the word in Turkish. It was really funny for him, but was somewhat lost on me until I learned more about the culture and what was so funny about being blonde. It since became the perfect name for the shop. I love the shop name because it is a bit of me, my story and Big’s and how we got here along with “Blue” being the traditional colour of the nazar boncuğu.
I am readying a few exciting things for my shop: Shortly I will have my own online store-front in addition to my Etsy store, I cannot WAIT for this to be completed!
I will also be rolling out a number of new items that include my beloved beads. The items are accessories and I think will round out the collection very nicely!
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