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Meet Nicold Pittman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicold Pittman.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve been making jewelry since about 1998, a trip to a local bead shop to make bracelets with friends while in college at Indiana University got me hooked. I made stuff for my myself, friends, and family for years and acquired about a gazillion beads.

In 2011, before crowdsourcing sites had really taken off, it was common for people to create sites asking for donations to pay off their credit cards and whatnot. The thing is: folks actually donated money!

I didn’t want to just ask people for money since there are much more charitable places to give donations to, so I tried to come up with something I could give in return. The gazillion beads! I loved making jewelry and was like why don’t I just make some to sell! I thought if I could just make and sell 20,000 pieces of jewelry priced at $10 each my student loans and other debt would be paid off, so EUREKA! Twenty Thou (my own personal bailout) was born!

My student loans have gone up since then (thanks interest), but so has the intricacy of Twenty Thou’s pieces. I took a metalsmithing class in college which was a ton of fun, but never pursued it afterwards because I didn’t have the tools on hand. A friend started taking classes locally at Benches on Division in Wicker Park and I signed up too. Three years later and they can’t get rid of me! I went from mostly simple beaded work to more complex soldered pieces and set stones, and even working with gold and diamonds.

Please tell us about your art.
I’m a metalsmith. It took me a while to embrace the title, but I finally came around. I make a range of items from everyday jewelry to wearable sculpture. I work mostly with copper, brass, and sterling silver with a bit of gold-filled thrown in. I love picking out gemstones to pair with my metalwork, one of the benefits of having been a beaded jewelry maker in the past is having a plethora of stones at my disposal. Many times I buy stones and components that just resonate with me without always having a plan on what they will become. Eventually, I think of a design and am delighted when I have the perfect stone or component on hand. I hope to launch a lux line in 2019 that will feature gold pieces along with raw diamonds and other precious stones.

My pieces are made with love and I’m always happy to see them go to new homes where others will love them too.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Keep creating and getting your work out there, don’t wait for the perfect storm of events to try something new. Remember that you are your own worst critic. Sometimes, it gets hard to quiet the nagging voice in your head that says you aren’t good enough or to constantly compare yourself to others. Know that what you see is always the polished edited snapshot of their lives and that you aren’t seeing their work and struggles in the background to get to where they are. Keep pushing and competing to outdo only yourself.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Instagram @twenty.thou is the best place to see my latest work. There you can also find out where I’ll be popping up next in the city. I can be found vending at festivals all around town like the Glenwood Arts Fest/Shop Jarvis Square in Rogers Park, or the Silver Room Block Party in Hyde Park, or the Uprising Craft Fair in Beverly.

You can also message me to place an order, or request a custom piece! I also sell some of my everyday wear pieces on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/twentythou).

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Image Credit:
Nicold Pittman

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