This Friday, October 1, marks the final installment of the First Friday Craft Market season.  The series, which ran in association with the Kennett Square Farmers Market and First Friday Art Stroll, debuted in June and continued evolving each month with an expansive array of high-quality wearable and functional craft items created by skilled artisans from within the region.  Stop by this Friday, 2-8 p.m., while your browsing the Fermentation Festival or the Art Stroll, meet the artists, and pick up a unique item for that special someone.

Estelle Lukoff is a jewelry artist who joins the Market from her home studio in Landenburg, PA.  She recently gave us a behind-the-scenes peek into her world of creating hand-craft jewelry and accessories.

Please give us an introduction to what you make…

I create a wide assortment of hand-crafted jewelry and accessories in my home-based studio.  Over three decades of art related education and work experience shape my creative design vision.

How did you begin creating and what inspirations lead you to making jewelry?

For as long as I can remember I have created things with my hands and visualized the world in unique ways.  I vividly recall my first art museum class when I was eight years old.  The painting was an abstracted still life and the earthy colors and geometric patterns of that early piece are recurrent themes in my present work.  I am consistently inspired by nature, music, travel and the vibrancy of primitive cultures.

Tell us about your artistic methods; what is your creative process?

I use a mixed media approach in my jewelry design by combining antiqued brass with fine metal elements, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, assorted gemstones and glass.  When selecting components I am drawn to patina, texture, shape and color.

Do you have any plans for a progression of your current body of work in the future?

I am always interested in exploring new techniques and developing new styles.  I create my jewelry in limited production as an expression of my unique and eclectic design vision.

What is it like working on custom commissions? Do you have a favorite memory of one in particular?

It’s fun to have the freedom to create unique designs for the person who trusts your personal style and aesthetic.  A bride had an unconventional color dress and wanted a special look for herself and her bridesmaids.  The result was one-of-a-kind jewelry that matched her color palette and unique style.

What does an average day in your life entail?

A brisk morning walk usually kick starts my day which prepares me for a full day in my studio where I get lost in my creative world for hours on end.

Tell us about your studio or other location where you create your work?

My studio is the place I want to be.  I would say it’s a place of controlled chaos.  Bits of pieces everywhere…brass components, beads, chain, leather, crystals and more. Stacks of colorful bins brimming with different colors, sizes and shapes.  Getting lost in the creative process is what I love so much.

When you’re not creating, what else do you do?

I enjoy getting my hands dirty in the garden, re-designing my interiors, cooking and reading.

As an artist, what is the value and appeal of buying handmade craft?

Handmade items capture the soul, spirit and energy of the creator at a moment in time.  It’s a way of connecting to each other in a very tangible way.

What is your favorite handmade possession?  Why?

A hand woven African basket from Botswana.  I imagine the fibers grown and harvested to be prepared for weaving.  It must have taken the weaver many weeks or months to complete the intricate design which is tight enough to hold water.

Find Estelle Lukoff Designs on Facebook and her website.