Have You Met This Artist? 05/14/2012


Today I want to introduce you to a very sweet lady from Chicago! Vanessa Uttaro and her etsy shop The big city Bumpkin! She makes the cutest map necklaces ever!!!

But here is Vanessa in her own words:

Anyone who creates or crafts knows what it means to get the itch — you’ve been idle or stagnant for too long, and you don’t just WANT to create something, you NEED to create something, anything!  As a seasonal employee at Wrigley Field, I have long off-season to do exactly that, but I had reached a point in my creative journey that felt like a dead-end.  I didn’t know what to make, any more, I just knew that I had to do something.

One laundry night, as I was sifting through our apartment buildings “giveaway table” (where tenants leave things they can’t use any more for other tenants to take), I found this neat laminated map of Chicago.  It got me thinking about all of the different neighbourhoods in the city, and how people love to represent where they’re from, and I had a “Wouldn’t it be neat…?” moment.  I thought it would be so cool to wear your neighbourhood on a necklace, but this was an all new arena for me — I had never really made jewelry before!  I went to a craft store the next morning to see what I could find, and picked up a few bezels and some epoxy resin, and got to work.  The first few pendants were rough  – cool, but rough — and that particular craft store was going to make me go bankrupt if I kept buying my supplies there, so I ran to Etsy.com.  I found a fellow crafter who sold supplies, and took the leap of faith and ordered 25 pendant frames.  Believe me, it was a leap, because I had about $30 to my name at the time!
I couldn’t believe how quickly these pendants took off!  People all over the city, and even in other cities, loved them, and started requesting custom pieces.  After one big order of custom key-chains for a customer in Southern Illinois, I was able to start investing my profits back into the “business”, and building up a stock of different maps and styles of pendants.
I’ve only been at it for about two months, but the feedback has been fantastic!  I started a Facebook fan page (facebook.com/thebigcitybumpkin), where I met the lovely host of this blog.  🙂  I’m planning on doing a big craft show in Chicago this Autumn.  My boyfriend even got in on the fun, and we’ve started making Official Game Used Major League Baseball pendants, with balls hit out of Wrigley Field that he catches on the street!  You can find my pendants at thebigcitybumpkin.etsy.com, and in auctions on tophatter.com.  Oh, and I’m on Twitter @vuttaro, and I blog at thebigcitybumpkin.blogspot.com  Phew!
I’m back at work now, so most of my time making the pendants is on the weekends, but it’s so great to see the feedback I’m getting, and I can’t wait to see how this project will grow over the next year!

If you are an artist, or know of an artist you think deserves to be featured, please let me know by leaving a comment here.

My featured artists will go on to be featured on one more blog this month. Next on  Indie Mosaic blog and was just featured on Bridgett’s blog! So you get maximum exposure! Since we all do different things you will reach different readers on each of our blogs and you really get your name out there! It’s really great. And best of all: It’s free! If you enjoyed reading this and want to be featured, or know of someone that you think should be featured, leave a comment on this post, or email me at SlaveToMyNeedles@comcast.net.

~Louise

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