Field Interview: Amy Salomone
Today's interview is with artist, Amy Salomone. Amy is a science teacher by day and jeweler by night. Her work is an amazing tribute to the purpose behind the beauty of nature. Amy is such a pleasure to have in the Field. She's been selling with Field of Artisans for the past couple of years and she always brings a smile and friendly vibe to all fellow artist vendors and visitors. We loved learning more about her science, nature and vintage inspiration!
Find Amy in the Field at
SUNDAY, 3/11 11:30-4:30
1. You call your jewelry line, Functional Whimsy. Can you give us some insight into how this name came to fruition?
I first started refurbishing furniture about 15 years ago. Basically, I would use stained glass and mosaic dressers and tables. Any piece of old furniture that I could get my hands on. I was brainstorming at the time with my then boyfriend, now husband what I could name a business that does this. I liked functional whimsy as a name because each piece was both a work of art, and a functional piece of furniture. My idea came from peacocks, who carry this large ornamental tail on them so that they can find a mate. So functional whimsy. I am always inspired by nature and this name expresses that. Even now that I mostly make jewelry, I still think the name works.
2. Vintage inspired imagery seems to be a huge focus of Functional Whimsy. Do you have favorite places where you look for vintage inspiration? Any fun magazines, blogs or social media accounts?
I am not a big social media person, its my downfall as a jewelry business creator. I love anything vintage and graphic and usually get my inspiration from all over. I get a lot of inspiration just walking down Westminster Street after work and going in the shops. They just have this really cool vintage aesthetic to them that I gravitate towards.
3 . Nature is also a common theme in your work. I love the butterflies! You recently embarked on a rigorous camping adventure. Do trips like this inspire your work?
I am a science teacher by day and a jewelry designer at night and I have spent a large portion of my childhood and life camping and backpacking. I love to figure out and communicate the way that the universe works and so, nature clearly inspires me. My favorite quote is by Einstein: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” . So, I am inspired by things such as butterflies, peacocks, bees, the human body, nebulas, etc because of what they teach me about the world rather than just what they look like.
4 . Did you teach yourself the process in your jewelry making? Or, do you have a mentor?
I definitely taught myself and it was definitely a learning process! I am always changing and developing the way that I go about making jewelry and definitely find it hard to stay in one place.
5 . Do you work out of your home? What's your ideal studio setup?
I do work in my home, although sadly, I don’t really have a great set up. My supplies are all in my basement and I usually bring them upstairs when I work. I have this dream of building a mini home or container home in my backyard and having lots of light and a wood burning stove in my studio. I don’t have a big backyard so this is kind of a pipe dream, but I would be in heaven with my own space. We have a guest room that essentially my parents stay in once in a while and I would love to just change it into a studio. Unfortunately the bed in the room is my earliest mosaic creation, so it would break my heart to part with it.
6 . Do you ever offer custom jewelry? For instance if someone had an image that was special, could you make it into jewelry for them?
Yes! I can make anything into a necklace using any image! I could also alter the image in a cool digital format and integrate it into a piece. Just ask!
7. What's your bestselling piece? Your personal favorite piece?
My best selling pieces are the pins, magnets and butterfly stud earrings. I would have to say that my favorite pieces are probably the graphic vintage/butterfly necklaces or butterfly studs. I started making the butterfly necklaces because I wanted one and couldn’t find it, so those will always have a special place in my heart.
8 . Any expansion plans for Functional Whimsy?
I need to expand and develop my online presence but other than that, I go where the wind takes me. If I am inspired to make something, I will just go for it and see if anyone is picking up what I am putting down. My Functional Whimsy endeavors are usually funding my travel endeavors. This year I have a lot of travel planned, so I will definitely be devoting my time to developing some different ideas for Functional Whimsy.
9 . What would your advice be to a fellow artist on how to make oneself personality and individuality shine through their work? (I think you do a really good job at this.)
Gosh, I would say that you should make pieces that you would want and do what excites you. I also think that its important to make pieces that are of a quality that you would expect from a purchase that you make. There is nothing worse than being really excited about a piece of jewelry that you buy and having it break within a week.
10. Dream collaboration? Can be a specific person, general person, company, etc. What would you create together?!
So my idols who I aspire to be more like are typically scientists and educators rather than artists. I would love to develop a line with someone like Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson or E.O. Wilson, that spreads scientific literacy. So essentially a butterfly necklace, that has interesting information about butterfly evolution or behavior imprinted in the packaging and some of the proceeds could go to butterfly migration conservancy or something like that. That would be amazing.
See more of Amy's work through her Instagram!