Rhody artists ~ Michael & Erin Waite ~ Pawtucket

Michael and Erin Waite
Olive Spoon Studio
Pawtucket/Providence RI
http://www.etsy.com/shop/olivespoonstudio
Blog: http://olivespoonstudio.blogspot.com/
Twitter: WaiteErin
Facebook: not yet, but coming this weekend!

1. Tell us about your work
Michael and I repurpose vintage and antique silverplated flatware into jewelry, garden markers, and message-stamped silverware. We both love to hunt through garage sale, estate sales, and little out-of-the-way antiques shops all over New England. In today's economy and with the growing trend to make do, or to make new, spoon jewelry is making a comeback in popularity. The detail and artistry of antique flatware is amazing, and it is such a shame to come across a box of gorgeous silverware, tarnished and forgotton, in the back corner of a shop. We love to rescue it, shine it up, and give it a new function!

image: etsy

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter?
I have always had a need to create. I studied ceramics for many years, eventually becoming a professional potter and ceramic instructor, teaching at art museums. After having my second child, I chose to put pottery aside for a season and focus on raising my babies. However, the pull to create led me to dicover the world of metal clay, and I began making and selling artisan jewelry at Purple Blossom Studio on Etsy. My love of flowers, jewelry, and vintage silverware (we have quite the collection that we use as our daily utensils!) all came together into this wonderful venture I share with my husband.

Michael has the kind of brain that can look at a complicated piece of machinery, and understand how it works. He can take it apart, and put it back together, often altering it to function better. He is the King of Repurposing, and many times has built machines out of odd bits and pieces. As he says, he likes to start with a pile of nothing, and end up with something! He loves to design items for his huge organic garden, like the moveable greenhouse he built a couple of years ago, and the giant compost bins made of old treadmill running belts. He finds a lot of pleasure in taking something that has been labled as junk and modifying it to have a new life as part of something else.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Inspiration is often found within the spoon or fork we are working with - the design will lend itself to a certain style. For the handstamped message utensils (coming soon to the shop), the daily joy and humor of marriage and family life is our inspiration.

image: etsy

4. What’s your favorite item to make?
Rings! It is so fun to see how old eating utensils become the most glamorous of adornments when bent, formed, and placed on a finger.

image: etsy

5. What’s your best seller?
Ask us in a year! Our shop is brand new, but it will be interesting to see which of the different types of items we create from silverware will become the most popular.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I have lived in RI for eight years, and Michael has lived here for four years.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
Probably our favorite place in all of Rhode Island is Wickenden Street in Providence. We had our first date on that street, sipping coffee from The Coffee Exchange, and later chatting with the owner of the glass studio, Gallery Belleau, in the middle of the night (he was packing up for a show). Ever since, each special occasion has been marked by the gift of a glass flower, and everyday is begun with The Coffee Exchange's wonderful brew.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
We have a dream: to someday have our own little homestead with chickens scratching in the yard and a large garden out back. Land enough for our children to roam and discover through all their growing-up years. Olive Spoon Studio is the first step towards that dream becoming a reality!

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