Artists ~ Nancy Rafi ~ Wickford

Artist’s name: Nancy Rafi
Business name: Gypsy Girl Designs
Location: Wickford, Rhode Island
Etsy shop:
Twitter: nlrafi

1. Tell us about your work
I began my art exploration at a very early age - ripping up magazine images and pasting them down in random patterns before I was allowed to use a scissors, so my first love has always been collage. I began to sell my handbound blank journals a few years ago, after I started teaching art journaling. Now I've branched out into working in metal - and concentrating on stamped antique spoons mixed with found, rusty objects to make funky necklaces. I'm really loving using my dremel to cut things apart and make something sparkly from discarded items.

image: etsy

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter?
I left the corporate world about 2 1/2 years ago, right after I bought my dream home by the beach. There was a spare room that was just screaming to become my studio and I decided to just take the plunge. After building up enough stock, I was accepted into my first show and was approached by an art rep who was interested in selling my line to stores in New England, and the rest, as they say, is history.

image: etsy

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
Everywhere! I recently took a few classes with artists that I've admired for years...Michael deMeng (assemblage) and Andrea Matus deMent (collage and paint). It was really a dream come true to meet and learn from them...and to have them critique my work. Best part is - it was at an art retreat in Connecticut ( ) and I had a total blast...surrounded by other artists who really "get" me. And I'm thrilled that I've been asked to teach there next year!

4. What’s your favorite item to make?
Anything that requires using power tools! I love to find some crazy item in a junk store, take it home, cut it apart and make something completely different with it. And seriously, how could you not love a necklace made from a license plate number, rusted key, rhinestone pin and silver spoon?

5. What’s your best seller?
Right now I'd have to say my holiday ornaments made from silver spoons - cut apart, wired with beads and found objects, of course.

image: etsy

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I've lived in RI for more than 40 years (yikes!) and have lived in Newport, Middletown, North Providence, North Kingstown, and now the beautiful little village of Wickford.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
I LOVE living down at the beach. It's such a gift, when I start to feel blocked working in my studio, to take a walk along the water and soak up all the beauty that is the RI coastline. And seriously, what's not to love about Wickford? It's like living in a moment that time forgot.

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I'm really enjoying teaching right now - from 3rd grade students to college art professors. I love sharing my craft and feeling the excitement of when someone masters a new's a real treat!


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