I (Leigh Armstrong AKA Magick Minx) was born in January 1969, an Aquarian, known for being creative, quirky, impatient & generally someone who needs to keep life interesting in order for them to remain interested! All of this I would say is true about me, I am creative yet not artistic, I can be a bit of an odd ball & I am VERY impatient, all of these things make working with PMC & mixed media ideal for me.
Although I studied Fashion at College I went on to become a specialist in Credit Cards in Financial Services organisations which whilst this took me far & wide, including Australia & it paid me generously I always felt that something was missing & that my creative needs were not being met.
When Financial Services finally bored me I started my own Health & Nutrition Network Marketing Business alongside Forever Living Products which was & still is fantastic, the earnings enabled me to give up work & the freedom to work around my family commitments was priceless. This business has now enabled me to start on my Precious Metal Clay journey, to set up Magick Minx & to achieve my new Crafty Goals.
Other than 5 weeks at a Silversmith evening class (got bored at this point as it wasn't quick enough for me!) I didn't have any formal training in Jewellery Design & Production, I started initially just making pieces of jewellery for myself to wear, I like unusual, chunky, funky & organic looking pieces which I found I couldn't buy without spending a fortune. Soon people were asking me where I got my jewellery from & when they realised I had made it myself I started to get my first commissions. Magick Minx was born. I have since gained both Level I & Level II PMC Certification which now enables me to teach PMC as a qualified Artisan & Instructor.
I find inspiration sometimes from the strangest of things it could be a pair of shoes, my children, a song or a tree but the biggest source of inspiration for me is the Sea. When I was a child my Grandparents lived on a converted War Boat moored in Hayling Island. Every year I spent the entire summer down there & loved it. I realise now that this infact was something quite unusual but at the time I thought everybody's grandparents lived on a boat, it came as quite a surprise as an eight year old to find that this was not the case!
The Cornish Coast, particularly Sennen Cove is where I love to be.
I currently love my George Debenham Seascape prints, you can just get lost in them, very relaxing & inspiring stuff, I have them in my Studio & in my home.
Oh & for Eye Candy my Adam Ant Canvas & my lifesize Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow) Cardboard Cutout & Daniel Craig Calendar!! (naughty Minx!)
Whose work do I admire and why?
My latest Ooo Oooo is Michael de Meng, an Assemblage artist from the States, I love Tim Holtz's stuff too & was lucky enough to attend one of his Workshops last year & for PMC there are many artists whose work I admire, Terry Kovalcik, Celie Fago, Barbara Becker Simon, Hattie Sanderson, Hadar Jacobson and Mary Ann Devos.
My Metal Clay Hero is Gordon Uyehara who makes the most beautiful PMC pieces (I'm actually the proud owner of a bead he made for me which I wear every day!)
I was immensely honoured to have Gordon, whilst over from Hawaii visit my New Studio in October 2010.
I also have to say that I have been in awe & very proud of some of the work my Students have achieved, don't you love it when your Students can teach you stuff?
For Glass beads, apart from obviously Sally Carver(aka Red Hot Sal)
whose glass I use in a lot of my work I would have to mention Heather Culhane from Red Ocean, it was Heathers work that inspired me to find out more about Lampworking, which in turn led me to Sally, My Red Ocean pieces of Jewellery are very much treasured possessions.
I also adore the little birds (or tweets as they are now known) that I have been using in my Birdhouse Collection, these have been made by Les at Mad Cat Beads, a very clever girl.
My lovely Nan (that was) Nell - A Cornish lady of strength & character
My much loved Mum Wend, who sadly died in 2011 - An all giving, hardworking gorgeous lady who I loved dearly & miss terribly. Wend was a huge part of Magick Minx, working in the Studio, looking after my Students & Customers, she had many fans in our Minx Students & Customers, everyone always have kind words about her, she is always in our thoughts.
My Family - Nell my Sister, (she had the Brains), Richard my Husband who puts up with all the mess & chaos a Minx can create & my children, Daisy the Tomboy Pony addict & Tabitha the Mini Minx!
Adam Ant - My first 'WOW' moment (& first 'Love') seeing & hearing him for the first time, I've had the pleasure of meeting him a few times & my personally autographed autobiography is a big treasure of mine. My Mother personally blames Adam for my weird dress sense & inability to conform.
Bing Crosby - Ha! I know, very odd but I LOVE Christmas & White Christmas is my favourite film, watched every year since I can remember. I love listening to the Rat Pack Christmas tunes.
Kat Von D - A ballsy lady whose commitment to her art & lifestyle I find both entertaining and inspiring.
1) We have 2 choices - we can make a living or design a life - Jim Rohn
2) If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right! - Henry Ford
Generally an eclectic mix I have to say, obviously Mr Ant! Kings of Leon, 30 Seconds to Mars, Guns & Roses, anything Rock n loud! White Stripes, Pink, Lady GaGa, Christmas tunes, Nina Simone etc etc etc
What are my future goals?
To learn from the worlds best, be that the celebrated artists or the independent craftspeople whose work I admire.
To attend trainings from renowned international artists.
Having already attended Metal Clay workshops with:
In the future I would like to attend a Metal Clay class with Celie Fargo and Terry Kovalcik
I'm a big believer in Education being an ongoing process so each year I try to learn & master new skills. Last year it was Lampworking, making pretty Glass beads, I was thrilled to be able to make some to utilise in my Sisters Wedding Jewellery & also having various enquiries to retail them! I'm not at Sally Carvers level yet but at least I can make 'em round & pretty! For 2014 I'm looking more at Papercrafts & Mixed Media, I have already booked a number of online classes with Michael deMeng (Mixed Media construction), Tim Holtz (Art of Inking), Cindy Leitz (Polymer Clay) and Christi Friesen (Polymer Clay), I'm also going to finish my Wendy Froud 'Creature' that I started last year in Polymer Clay. A busy year to be had then I guess!?
Magick Minx Productions have recently moved to the beautiful Vale of Belvoir, very much Robin Hood countryside! As I don't currently have a 'Teaching' Studio I have been teaching in my lovely new house, we have space & views & a 9ft Table to make a mess of! All that & a fabulous Pub that does the scrummiest of food! We're worth a visit ;)