Chris Hansen, what have you been up to lately as far as creating charms?
I always enjoy participating in swaps – having a theme and a deadline to work with really gets my creativity flowing. I just finished a batch of steampunk charms I’m pretty happy with – which is terrific, because while I LOVE steampunk, it’s sometimes challenging for me to interpret that style in my own artwork. Currently, I’m busy cooking up ideas for two of *your* swaps (Music & The Orient), and in the Art Charms group, I’m hosting two swaps (Winged Jewels & Adopt-An-Ancestor), and have signed up for Barbara Finch’s Celestial swap.
Do you have a special medium that you enjoy working with at the moment?
Glass!!! I am in love with melting glass! In fact, when I’m thinking up design ideas for a new swap, I usually try to figure out if I can do it in glass first. I’m delighted with the glass hearts I made for a recent Valentine’s themed swap – they were so much fun to make. I’m also grooving on the awesome sparkly Preciosa flat-back rhinestones I just purchased from Shipwreck...and paper. I LOVE paper. Paper is good. :)
How has making charms and being a part of the charm swap community changed your life?
Making & swapping charms has had a profound effect on my life. Aside from the incredible creative expression I find in making my mixed media charms, I have been generously blessed with many wonderful new friends. And too, art charms led to the realization of a lifelong dream – that of writing (and publishing, LOL) a book.
What 3 tools do you find absolutely wonderful to use while making your charms?
I have to narrow it down to just three tools? Hmm. What about three non-tangible tools? (1. a sense of humor, 2. a sense of curiosity and adventure, and 3. a willingness to explore and try new things) As far as tangible tools, I can’t live without five: my torch, my pliers (chain nose, bent chain nose, round nose, and flush cutters), my trusty scissors, my (and Jerry’s) drill press, and files to smooth all those edges and corners.
Do you have a favorite piece of charm jewelry? If so, please share...
I think my VERY favorite is my charm cluster pendant, which is currently on my eyeglass necklace. It has my charms and fractal swirl beads on it, as well as a few charms made by my dear friend and writing partner, Peg Krzyzewski. I love how all of the different colors and elements come together so beautifully - and the best part is I can add new charms all the time!
What do you enjoy most about the whole art charm movement?
Three things: I enjoy making new friends through swapping art charms with others, I enjoy expressing my own creativity, and I really enjoy nudging others into playing with art charms, because it’s such an inclusive format.
The art charm movement feels to me like we’re in new territory as artists and as a community – we’re taking odd bits & pieces, often recycled or re-purposed, adding to them, sharing & building connections with other people, and then putting the results together into a unique combination with layers and layers of meaning.
Have you celebrated International Handmade Art Charm Day before?
EVERY day is International Handmade Art Charm Day at my house, LOL.
Do you have any plans to celebrate this year?
Absolutely! Peg & I are donating a signed copy of our book, Making Mixed Media Art Charms & Jewelry, for you to give away, and too, I will be blogging about IHACD with links to your blog, and doing a giveaway of my own art charms.
Thank you Chris!