Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
I AM Chuck Domitrovich and I live in beautiful Seattle, Washington. I stumbled into jewelry when I was a student at the University of Washington. I was taking art classes to fill holes in my schedule. One quarter a beginning jewelry class was the only thing that fit. I remember debating whether it would even be worthwhile– it didn’t particularly interest me at the time. In the end, I took the class and felt right at home from the start. All of the basic skills seemed to come really easy to me. I took two other jewelry classes before graduating. I ended up with a degree in philosophy because I could never see an art degree being practical– believe me, I live with the irony of that choice every day!
Seattle is home to many amazing and talented studio jewelers. I am fortunate to have met many of them and to have studied with Mary Hu, truly one of the best. I am a member of the Seattle Metals Guild and also the Society of North American Goldsmiths. I have been making jewelry for the past 12 years, and I continue to enjoy it and find wonder in it.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I think it was a polar bear carved from a bar of Ivory soap for a grade school project. My mom kept it until it had so much dust on it that it looked more like a grizzly. There was also a baked dough alligator complete with toothpick teeth and a bloody red mouth. It was a mother’s day gift.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
I am very inspired by African and Pacific Island jewelry. I like the roughness and textures of a thing made by hand, often from scavenged and found components. The spirit of conservation found in the work from these regions– the use of bones, teeth, shells, and other discarded bits– amazes me. I try to come up with my own unique interpretations of these styles without co-opting them. My wrapped earrings are one example of this approach, while my spiral series is another.
My patterned metal jewelry is meant to evoke the work of the Weiner Werkstatte (Vienna Workshops). This group was a contemporary of the Arts and Crafts movement and it sought to make art that was simple, practical, and accessible. I am particularly drawn to their revolutionary use of materials as well as the idealism they showed in attempting to make art available in every day life.
Beyond that, ideas beget ideas. I have a drawer full of sketches on napkin corners that will never see metal.
What are your favorite materials?
Sterling silver. It’s so easy to form and to solder. Beginning jewelers could save themselves a lot of grief by spending the extra money on silver instead of practicing on copper, brass, and nickel.
What is your favorite color?
Green is nice. In moderation.
What are your three favorite films?
The Graduate; Exotica (or anything else directed by Atom Egoyan); and Do The Right Thing
What is your favorite book?
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. Also The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany both by John Irving.
Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
If you want to do this full-time you have to have a long-term plan. Look ahead, because unless you are extremely lucky, success doesn’t happen overnight– and in the meantime there are bills to pay and life to live. Also, seek out opportunity because it rarely comes knocking.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I have been playing basketball regularly since the fourth grade and if I go too long without playing I have basketball anxiety dreams. It’s true. I have been in love with biking since watching Breaking Away many years ago. I love the feeling of gliding freely and fast powered only by my legs– it’s the closest experience I will ever have to being a super hero.
I am also a political junkie. I try to keep myself informed and aware. I vote, I write letters to the editor and to my elected officials, and I generally do what I can to help move the world in a more positive direction.
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
There are little adjustments that can be made, sure, but overall I feel like this site works. I am greatly looking forward to the new launch and seeing what surprises will come with it. The new treasury feature looks like a lot of fun.
Whoever started this site deserves to be rich and if they aren’t yet, they could easily make a few changes, turn this thing into a cult and quickly retire in luxury. I’m in either way.