You may have seen her jewellery on Etzy, Facebook or other places. Angie Brockey makes unique art jewellery using the wet plate collodion technique.
Angie Brockey, what is it that you do?
Angie Brockey: I am someone who loves to explore all types of art and creative outlets but I primarily specialize in wet plate collodion photography. In 2013 my husband introduced me to this amazing antique photographic process and I was immediately hooked as soon as I shot and processed my first collodion tintype.
I think it was about a year later when the idea came to me that these dreamy images would make awesome pieces of jewellery. After modifying some of my equipment I found myself spending a great deal of time shooting tiny tintype and ambrotype wonderments to wear.
My little business started out on facebook when my mother and sister encouraged me to show some of my collodion image pendants on my wall and it really took off from there. Soon I needed to come up with a more streamline way to offer my pieces so I chose to set up an online etsy shop and really found it to be a user-friendly way of organizing the sale of my art. I’m also very happy now to have some of my image jewellery showcased and available in a few great photography galleries across the U.S.
What is your background, before you started this project?
Angie Brockey: Growing up I wanted to be a part of the arts in some way but didn’t really know if choosing the arts as a career would be a smart decision. I didn’t know if I could bring something of enough value to the world in spending my time creating and actually doing something I so thoroughly enjoyed. As a small child, on up through my early 20’s I used to travel and sing with my family and sister and I saw the joy it brought people. I think this helped me to realize that the arts are needed and a very important part of our human experience, that maybe I could add a little something to people’s lives and to my own by tapping into creativity. I decided at some point that I wanted to paint and spent several years working on this skill and never thought of delving into photography until the door opened and I dove in head first. I think the timing was right for me to finally realize that it was okay to attempt a career in the arts. This illumination then seemed to organically develop into what I’m doing today.
How does it all work?
Angie Brockey: In the beginning when I first started showing my little image pendants on facebook I was just having fun, I didn’t concern myself with sales. It was a great feeling to be able get a tiny image to develop in the darkroom and to piece it together like a puzzle with the setting and chain. I still feel the same way now and it’s just icing on the cake that people want to collect my pendants and photography. I remember at some point, after I’d received quite a bit of interest for a few months, I decided to treat my collodion jewellery endeavor like a business. I put together my little etsy shop and made it a point to set up an Instagram account and later a flickr account. Facebook to this day though continues to be the most productive way to connect with customers….many of whom are other photographers. A lot of my work now is commission work and mostly requests for pieces that are similar to some of my original image pendants. Each piece is one of a kind but I can usually set up a photoshoot that replicates, pretty closely, a previous image I created.
How do you piece those gorgeous necklaces together?
Angie Brockey: I think I’m a bit addicted to the wet plate collodion process. It’s just so sensory satisfying from start to finish. I really feel that I’m crafting a piece of artwork the whole way through. The experience of pouring and flowing the collodion onto my substrate is wonderful and then to see the image appear in the development and fix trays is amazing every time. It’s not an easy process but I’m fine with that. I think within the challenge I grow and learn and the journey becomes a richer experience because of it. I also have to learn to let go and take what the process gives me sometimes which is a healthy practice for me. After an image is created, varnished and protected I can then move on to “framing” my little piece. It has become another part of the “addiction”. I’m now working in a metalsmith studio designing and crafting my own fine metal settings. This part of the equation has also challenged me in such a good way. There really is no end in how far I can improve and in how much I can learn. I try to focus in on each small image and the feeling it evokes. I move on from there to design the setting. Some images are best supported by a minimalist setting and some call out for a bit more but my direction always starts with the tiny image. After I’ve polished the silver and chosen just the right chain I can sit back and feel good about the work I’ve completed.