Some people know they’re artists practically from birth. Some spend a lifetime perfecting their craft. And some people are fortunate enough to tumble into it.
Jewelry artist Marsha Chamberlin, who has a degree in criminology from Berkley, is one of them.
“I didn’t study art,”says the former director of the Ann Arbor Art Center. “I bought a piece from an artist right after I retired; I liked it so much that I decided to try to make some of it myself.”
That was six years ago. Today Marsha Chamberlin sells her own unique designs of necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
“I use a variety of different materials, like rubber, glass and metal,” Chamberlin says. “I actually get quite a bit of it from hardware stores. They are fairly simple, direct pieces. But it took a lot of trial and error before I started selling.”
The artistry of creating jewelry came to her later in life, but ingenuity didn’t. Although she didn’t major or minor in jewelry making, Chamberlin says she’s always had a creative streak. She discovered her first artistic love when she was 12 and lived next door to a painter.
“My father was in the Navy, so we moved around a lot, and this neighbor was nice enough to give me painting lessons in exchange for cleaning her studio.”
She washed brushes and learned to paint and then turned her attention to clay and ceramic. “I took pottery lessons. I made coffee mugs and ashtrays and lamp bases at first,” she says. “It was a progression.”
Chamberlin takes to the road frequently, blending a love of travel with her passion for her work. Buying beads in other states and countries, including Tanzania and Venice and Florence, has become an annual event.
Interestingly, the criminology degree has proved useful. Chamberlin volunteers at Huron Valley Correctional Facility by teaching female prisoners to make jewelry through the University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Project.
With the holiday season only weeks away, lots of Westside Art Hop shoppers will come seeking presents in the form of paintings, photography, pottery, glass work and more, and Marsha Chamberlin considers it a perfect shopping venue.
“Personally, I love the beauty and individuality of handmade gifts. The Art Hop is a great place to find them.”
This year’s Westside Art Hop will be her third.
For more information on Marsha Chamberlin and her work:
Phone: (734) 717-6742
WESTSIDE ART HOP
Multiply your fall colors and enjoy high quality art and crafts on the West Side of Ann Arbor at the annual Westside Art Hop, a local art walk in neighborhood homes, studios, porches, garages and yards on Saturday, Oct 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere, you can stroll around and explore artwork ranging from cards and gifts at $3 or $4, to spectacular fine art at $500 and up. Westside Art Hop is easily walkable, with venues between 2nd St. and Eberwhite Woods, mostly housing two or more artists – the largest with about 10 exhibitors is at Gretchen’s House Childcare Center, 700 Mount Vernon Ave, 48103. Art Hop maps are available online and local street signage provided a few days ahead. Parking is easy, on street or at Eberwhite or Bach schools – more options on the map online.