Alison Blair - Firefly Handmade Featured Artisan
Although Alison Blair is a Firefly Handmade veteran, she's always full of surprises with incredible new jewelry designs. We're in awe of her endless desire to learn new techniques and love to watch her creativity unfold. Originally a steadfast beader, Alison dove into metalwork about a year ago. Forged of silver, gold and high-quality gemstones, her most recent designs involve etching, allowing her to meld her love for drawing and metalwork and giving clients a way to take home something truly memorable.
We recently caught up with the metalsmith to see if we could get a sneak peek of her beautiful work before the Firefly Handmade Holiday Market.
What new projects have you been working on?
I've been doing a lot of fun customized work. One piece I did recently was a keyring that included a portrait of a gentleman's yellow lab. He ordered three keyrings using three different angles of his sweet pup. Jewelry is so personal and I love being able to work with clients on such special items.
Why do you think jewelry is one of the most popular gifts during the holidays?
Jewelry is everlasting. While it’s fun to give gifts that can be eaten or used, jewelry is a gift that continues to bring joy year after year. It’s never lost on me that my art is worn by clients, sometimes daily.
Any new techniques you've been employing lately?
I've been working on a lot of custom jewelry that involves etching. This technique involves transferring a decorative design, drawn on paper, onto metal using acid. After the image is transferred onto the metal, the piece is then detailed with gemstones, oxidation and polishing.
What inspires your designs?
My dad is an artist. He does restoration work, focusing on antique metals and porcelain. He was completely self-taught and spent hour upon hour, taking on challenges and teaching himself techniques. Although I always appreciated what he did, I never really got it. I guess I thought he was a little nuts because he spent so much time perfecting his trade. Once I got into metalsmithing I began to understand the depth of his knowledge. I can't believe it took me so long to get it! So he inspires me in that way.
My mom is my main aesthetic inspiration. She has had an appreciation for beautiful, delicate understated jewelry since I can remember. Many of my designs remind me of the pieces she has collected over the years. She loves things that are slightly imperfect, and I love that too. So my pieces tend to be a little raw, a little askew. That gives me freedom to create with my hands and incorporate imperfection into my designs. I think imperfections turn designs into treasures.
Any favorite gemstones at the moment?
My favorite gemstone right now is called moldavite. This is a very mossy, moody green stone that I love. It reminds me of a walk through the woods after a rain storm.
How do you want your audience to feel when they interact with your art?
I love that my customers feel excited about the pieces I make for them. I love customizing jewelry in whatever way they want it, as long as I feel it's good composition. The highest compliment I can receive is when they tell me to design something for them--that they trust me to make the design decisions.
Why do you love the Firefly Handmade Holiday Market?
Firefly is one of the most well-managed shows out there with really authentic, artistic vendors. It’s an honor to be among such talent. I appreciate that Firefly draws such a great crowd that comes to buy quality art.
Alison Blair Designs joins us at the Firefly Handmade Holiday Market on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 at the NEW Embassy Suites Hotel Boulder, on Canyon and 28th Street. In the meantime you can connect here: