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FEATURE SELLER - INTERVIEW WITH Christen Largent "bddesigns"

I am very excited to introduce what I hope is the first in a long-running series of interviews with various Etsians, bloggers, and other folks I find interesting :) Today I’d like to introduce you to Christen Largent from bddesigns... I discovered Christen in a blog where I was looking for a seller to feature .. she came there and told me that "If you're interested in having a metalsmith featured, I will volunteer! ;)"

I immediately saw her passion and love for her art.... and I think she is the best for this weeks interview ... SHE IS AMAZING !!!!!
Christen Largent is a talented and creative metalsmith with years of study in traditional metalsmithing techniques that metalsmiths have been passing down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. It is a legacy of metalwork and she is very proud to be part of that history. Her designs reflect the joy and inspiration she receives when working with metal.

ENJOY !!!!
Hi, my name is Christen Largent. I am a self-taught, juried metal artist, specializing in custom precious metal jewelry. My artistic journey has been a varied one – I taught layout design for over 10 years in the fields of marketing and scrapbooking. I turned my attention to metal about 6 years ago, starting with wire art and progressing to metalsmithing. I participate in several local art shows and fundraisers throughout the year, but am mostly found through my online shop at The things that most inspire and motivate me are nature and “pushing the rules”. If it seems impossible, I want to try it!

-Where are you originally from?
Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA (the "sweetest" place on earth :)

-How did you choose the lovely name for your Etsy Shop?
bddesigns started as a joint venture with my best friend and "morphed" from there. It's just a silly little name that doesn't mean anything except to the two of us! :)

-How did you find Etsy?
How long have you been selling on Etsy? I found out about Etsy from a friend of mine who prints all of my advertising and printed materials. She thought my work would do well there, so I checked it out and started up my shop right away - August of 2007, I believe, so 2 1/2 years I guess! WOW!

-How would you describe your style? Have any other artists etc influenced your style?
I'm kind of at a loss on how to describe my style. I think it's kind of modern medieval meets forest spirits....HA! :) I get inspiration from a LOT of metal artists, metal structures....just metal in general. I just absolutely LOVE metal of all kinds!! But I have lived in the woods my whole life, so trees and nature really play a part in how I see metal.

- How did you first come to art and creativity? How did your journey in art and creativity begin?
My journey began practically at birth!! My mom is painter, sculptor...well, she can do just about anything creative that she wants to. She's very talented. But growing up on the east coast of the US, my family has the typical "hands-on" or "make it yourself" type of attitude. We made EVERYTHING we could! My dad makes furniture if he is so inclined, my grandfather was a GENIUS woodcarver, my grandma instilled in me the love of arts and I got it from all angles! I really don't know how to NOT be creative!!

-How long have you been creating?
I have been doing arts and crafts since childhood and just have continued to learn new things and explore new areas of art as I've gotten older. My daughter and I will still take a drawing or sculpting class at our local art museum from time to time...just anything to be CREATING.

-What are your main sources of inspiration?
Main sources of inspiration are definitely nature and modern clean lines. Metal itself inspires me, as do the gorgeous stones that God put on this earth!!!

-Have you had any mentors, or are you self taught?
I am mainly self-taught, however, my most important mentor...the one that really set me on the path of traditional metalsmithing is Helen Blythe-Hart I studied with her in 2008 and the skills I learned from her have been invaluable. She is a ROCKSTAR!!

-Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
My biggest holidays are Christmas and Mother's Day...probably both because of my Keepsake Jewelry. I do really well at the 3 summer art shows that I participate in also.

-What is one thing about your creative process that you think most people don't know?
Hmmm....well, one thing about METALSMITHING that most people probably don't know is that it's one of the MESSIEST crafts in all the world. People think that lovely, sparkly jewelry is just so beautiful and starts out ugly, messy and terrible-looking until the final polish!!! I am black dust from head to toe everyday when I'm done working!!

As for my creative process...I'm very old-school. I sketch most of my designs before I begin prototyping them. They start out as an idea in my head...the idea rolls around in there for a while, working out problems that might arise, and then I really need to sketch it in order to SEE it in real life! Sometimes what looks GREAT in my head just doesn't work on paper or in real life!

-How has life affected your art and art affected your life?
Wow - that's a great question! Art has affected EVERY area of my life...I wouldn't be who I am without it! It affects the way I see the world...slows it down a bit, helps me analyse the world. My life affects my art GREATLY - I'm a mom, so one of the most important things to me is SIGNIFICANCE. The significance of what I wear, the meaning behind it, what's important to me in my a lot of my keepsake jewelry is inspired by my family. The only lasting thing in life is love...and I want that with me all the time!

-Do you have a favorite item you have made?
My New Moon's the picture in my avatar in my shop. It was a "bolt of lightning" design and I have loved it from the minute I saw it in my head! :)

-What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces?
TEARS!! I have had people burst out in tears when they see a piece that was customized for them. Words are very powerful and I incorporate them into my work to be a powerful force!

-Your message for all of us?
Very cliche, but, "Do what you love and love what you do"!!! If you don't, you won't be happy!

Christen said :if someone buys something from my shop and mentions artistico blog that they can get free shipping anywhere in the world.
THANK YOU SO MUCH Christen!!!!!