SW: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background in metalsmithing.
EM: I graduated from college with a BFA in Sculpture from a small college in Ohio. I took my first jewelry-making classes there and also a metal sculpture class where I learned welding. There was only me and one other woman in the class. We eventually became very good friends, but during that quarter, because of all the safety headgear and clothing we had to wear, our conversation was mostly “Would you pass the
SW: How did you hear about the EtsyMetal’s Ring a Day project initiated by Nina Dinoff? EM: I had been a Flickr member for a while and already a contact with a few Ring a Day people, like Maria. I began to notice this funny code-like number and letters coming up with Maria’s photos. So I asked her about it and she explained about the project and invited me to join. SW: What compelled you to participate and persist in this endeavor?
EM: Well, I had been watching Maria’s rings and photos evolving in just a month’s time. I know that if you do something everyday, almost anything, that you will eventually get better at it and I really wanted to be a part of that process. Also, I have always had a hard time staying committed to any one thing. My mother’s voice in the back of my head from when I was a little girl saying ‘you never finish anything.’ I wanted to do something like this and follow it through to the end, to prove to myself that I could commit!! Ring a Day also makes you accountable. There are people that will see your ring – every day. It motivates me more when I know there are people out there that will know if I did it or not, more so than me trying to think up a project of this length and trying to do it all by myself.
SW: When did you start this project?
EM: I joined the group on February 6, 2010.
SW: How many rings have you made to date?
EM: The more I participated the more I wanted to be able to finish with 365 rings with everyone else, so I became obsessed until I caught up. So as of today, 8/17/10 I have made 229 rings!
SW: What is your favorite ring that you made and why?
EM: Eeee! That’s like trying to pick your favorite child!! RAD gives you that latitude to be able to try and work out many different techniques, so some I like because of the process, some because of the way they look, and some because of the meaning or symbology. But I guess if I had to pick one… I would pick #183, my sick ring! I had had this horrible cold – sore throat and cough – for about 3 weeks and I had to make a functional ring for a RAD spin-off group. So I made a cough syrup cup ring, with words describing the crap they put in medications. It was the first ring in a while that I actually took time to fabricate and think about and it marked a turning point in starting to feel better. I guess I just liked the way it looked and was put together. I know you didn’t ask… but 2nd favorite would be the anticlastic rings with enamel like #198. I am addicted to hammering the form and am enjoying finding new ways to work with it. SW: What was your least favorite ring that you made and why?
EM: That’s hard to say too, because even when a ring didn’t come out like I may have intended, or fell apart, or just looked weird, I still learned something from making it. But if I have to choose, I’d pick #37 (and hope that #37 doesn’t feel insulted!) I like it least because of the craftsmanship. It was lumpy and not filed and sanded very well. However, it was also a turning point, because I started to realize that even if I’m making a quick ring or a simple ring, it should be done well. That’s when I started looking more closely at what I was doing and trying to work harder on the technical aspects. Not that everything I do comes out perfectly, but that I have that more as a goal now. Thank you #37.
SW: How have you changed as an artist since you began this project?
EM: My mind and thinking has been stretched to dimensions I never thought existed! I’ve gotten better technically and have tried things I wouldn’t have tried before. It keeps me fresh, which is sometimes difficult to do when you are isolated working alone in your studio.
SW: Has your involvement in RAD affected your business?
EM: One way it has affected my business is that I’m so obsessed with doing a ring a day, that I have let a lot of my online posting slide! But because of the creativity and new work that has evolved from Ring a Day, I have been accepted into shows and sold more work locally.
SW: What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to participate?
EM: Do it, whether you commit to a ring every day or not. The commitment is personal, no one in the group minds if you post every day or every month or even just once or twice. It’s like taking an intensive college course online. Its not necessarily always fun. Sometimes it hurts to think. And sometimes the frustration of having to make a ring every day when maybe you just don’t want to, is necessary to move to a new level. And the support you get from the other members is phenomenal. SW: Where can people buy your jewelry online?
EM: I have a website, www.evelynmarkasky.com and an Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/markasky
SW: What one idea or thing inspires you most in your work?
EM: Organic shapes/designs. I love taking a piece of cold, hard metal and turning it into something soft and organic by hammering, folding, forming, and coloring.
SW: Would you like to tell us anything else? EM: I started doing Ring a Day with the idea that I would get better at metalwork and better at taking photos. Both of those things have happened. What I didn’t realize would happen is the camaraderie, friendships, and support through this group. It seems like at some point someone will post that they are uninspired, tired of making rings, wanting to quit, etc. (I know I was one of those people) and then you get these great supportive comments from people loving your work and encouraging you to keep going (whether its ring a day or not). No judgment or negative criticism, just supportive comments from people going through a similar experience, but maybe on a different place in the road. Sometimes it feels like a group of artists gathering and discussing ideas and art and families and health, only instead of sitting in some little café we are on the internet and we live all over the world. I have made friends and connections with people that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t joined Ring a Day. I knew some of these people as contacts on Flickr, but Ring a Day did something that brought people together in a different way and connected them. Thank you Nina Dinoff!!