Friday, July 22, 2016

Interview with Betty Cox of UniqueandMacabre

Step into the world of Betty Cox and her Etsy shop, “UniqueandMacabre”, open since 2012, and you will certainly feel like a kid in a candy store.  The beautiful colors and the intricate textures of her work both invite and excite the eye.  While the nature of some of Betty’s art pieces may shock and disturb the squeamish, the macabre themes are very interesting and thought-provoking.   Her pieces do what art should do; they inspire, and evoke conversation.  As you browse through her shop, Betty’s creative use of contrasts and her attention to detail, grabs you and holds you until you have viewed every single listing.  

Betty was an artist at a young age and then music took over.  She is a trained Cellist with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance but it was a summer job as a nurse’s aide that led her to become a Registered Nurse, then later she obtained a Master’s degree in science / maternal child/ midwifery from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is currently practicing as a Certified Nurse Midwife in San Diego at Kaiser Permanente.
Betty started her venture in jewelry making by stringing beads, then creating polymer clay beads and resin jewelry.  Later she was inspired by a good friend, who created lamp work beads and made beautiful jewelry using seed beads.  Betty’s first seed beaded piece of jewelry was a Carol Wells
 “Cha Cha” bracelet!  She loved figuring out the colors, stones, gems and textures, it took her about 4 months to complete because she wasn't used to working with tiny beads!!!     
Betty has been beading for about 7 years and she joined the Etsy BeadWeavers Team because she was inspired by, and had respect for all of the spectacular bead artists on the team.  It was also important to her that she could be as unique as she wanted but still accepted by the team.
She markets her jewelry primarily through her Etsy shop, but also word of mouth, local shows, teams, and contests!   

You are a certified Nurse Midwife and a former musician, which one of those professions fueled your interest in the macabre? The artistic/musician side most likely influences my creations.  The macabre in my creations is probably fueled by my childhood.  I’m fascinated with things that are a bit scary and things that aren't real, such as dinosaurs, monsters and " things that go bump in the night" 

 What is your design process when creating a new piece?
 I base my creations on a focal piece. I glue them to stiff material I usually have either a pendant, brooch or bracelet in mind and proceed to select colors, textures.  I use a white marker for lines that flow around the focal piece, then I start creating and my pieces generally evolve.  

How are you able to balance color, texture, and the macabre in your pieces? 
 I do love to mix the beautiful with the macabre.   I love color and texture so my pieces that include daggers, stones, drops give it more character in my eyes.  I think of my work like a painter or sculpture so I try to include the macabre along with beauty in mind

Is there a story behind the frequent use of “eyeballs” in your work?
There is no story behind my eyes but they often develop as I create.  Even I'm surprised when I'm in the middle of creating and by the outcome!!!  

 Which bead artists inspire you?
I’m inspired by Sherry Serafini, Heidi Kumili and Laura McCabe.  I was fascinated by their unique, colorful styles! The prosthetic glass eyes that Laura used were fascinating to me and couldn't wait to find some!  

Who is your customer?
My customer is often one that either loves the unique, kind of weird or different style.  I once had a customer that wanted 14 custom pieces.    

What has been the most challenging part of owning an Etsy shop?
The most challenging part of owning an Etsy shop is keeping up with posts of other artist’s work.   I'm often distracted throughout the day because I want to see and like everything!!  I also want to keep myself busy creating my own work to keep my viewers and customers interested.

What are your tips or advice on maintaining an Etsy shop?
Tips and advice to maintaining my Etsy shop, is to look every day and like other artist’s work, because the feedback I get on my own work inspires me.  Look at what sells and what doesn't and think of how your work stands out from the rest.  My best advice is don't be afraid to explore something different.

The work of Betty Cox is proof that beauty is in the “eyeball” of the beholder.
To see all of Betty’s beautiful creations please visit her shop at:

To see more of Betty’s beautiful work, visit the links below.

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