Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Look Inside the Coolest Jewelry Company to Ever Come Out of Detroit

Last year when I attended the Ferndale D.I.Y. Fest I had 2 goals in mind. First was to buy a ticket to Theatre Bizarre (that's a story for another time) and second was getting a Michigan necklace from a company called Glass Action!.  My friend, Channing Pierce, was Miss Michigan USA 2011.  When she won the title, she began wearing her friends "Michigan" necklace to promote her love for her home state.  Every time she wore it, I could not take my eyes off of it. I love Michigan and couldn't get over how cute it was to wear two necklaces that were in the shape of the upper and lower peninsulas.
Photo Courtesy of Fabrizio Costantini

I have received so many compliments on this necklace and have wrote out "Go to Etsy page Glass Action!" more times than I would like to count. This is why I decided to contact the owner, designer and creator of Glass Action!, Carey Gustafson. She was kind enough to answer a lot of questions about her company and how we can get more of what she's selling.

The most interesting thing I learned during this interview was that this lady can literally make you anything your mind can imagine. In fact she made a night light of Conan O'Brien's face and had her friends in
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. take it to the host on their recent guest appearance. I loved seeing that picture on my Facebook feed!

So without further ado here is the scoop on my favorite necklace and the amazing lady who started it all.

 Photo Courtesy of Jen Jeffery

HipInDetroit - When did you start your company Glass Action! and what was the inspiration?
Carey - "I named Glass Action! in 2005 - I was selling at the original Baar Bazaar in the Garden Bowl almost every week - but I'd been a full time stained glass designer and fabricator for a few different shops for about 15 years at that point!"

HipInDetroit - What made you decide to work with glass instead of many of the other traditional "necklace materials"?
Carey - "I really like that stained glass projects have a beginning and an end. There's no question when you're done because of all the steps. And you can stop at almost any stage of making to walk away either for a few hours or months!"

HipInDetroit - Your website describes your jewelry as traditional "Tiffany" style jewelry. What does that mean?
Carey - "It was a big part of Louis Comfort Tiffany's method - wrapping pre-cut pieces of glass with a copper tape, then soldering everything together. I work exclusively in foil, no lead came or zinc, except for the occasional trim around panels."

HipInDetroit -
How did you come up with idea for the Michigan necklace?
Carey - "Believe it or not, when I first started making them, there wasn't Michigan Making Madness quite yet! I started with the mitten but quickly incorporated the U.P. after a few stern requests from some show-goers! That's why they've always had their own chains, so you can wear one or the other or both at the same time."

HipInDetroit -
I loved the mirrored tooth I saw you wearing when we met at The Metro Times Blowout. What jewelry designs are you currently featuring? 
Carey - "I've been steering myself into the indie wedding market, and have had a few commissions for bridesmaids jewelry! I've been making bangle and leaf necklaces that have been doing very well at Naka (Ferndale) for over a year now. I cut the glass, use a lot of mixed chain draping and found items - like the silver "leaves" on the necklaces are highly polished fishing lures!"

Photo Courtesy of Emily Gustafson

HipInDetroit - I know that you make nightlights and many other glass pieces, what other things besides jewelry are you constructing these days?
Carey - "The custom portrait night lights are doing really well! I love doing these. People send me jpgs of their friends, family or usually couples getting married and I make them into night lights. The rock star night lights I take out to shows with me are some characters I hope people will like, but working on civilians likenesses is my favorite."

Photo Courtesy of Carey Gustafson

HipInDetroit - Tell us a little about how the customs orders work? Can you make anything?
Carey - "THANK YOU for asking me that! That's been the "hardest" part of my business to convey. People I don't think would hesitate thinking "could you paint my parents portrait?", but with my work I get that question all the time, and it's not much different - just different materials. And I actually DO paint the faces, the glass is the canvas. With the basis of artistic license in mind, People, pets, homes, cars - send it my way!"

HipInDetroit -
I have seen you featured at many of the local events around the city, including the D.I.Y. fest in Ferndale. Are there any events in the near future where someone could come to check out your wears?
Carey -
"I'm working with my partners in Handmade Detroit right now, working on the details for our Spring craft show called "Craft Revival". It's at The Loving Touch in Ferndale on Saturday, May 12th."

HipInDetroit -
Where can someone find your stuff for sale online?
Carey - "You can shop Glass Action at my Etsy store: and I always encourage people to write me with project ideas! Quotes are always free. "


No comments:

Post a Comment