It was the thought of juggling a baby and an upholstery career that lead Allison Fomich to jewelry. After studying sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Fomich, a Highlandtown resident, apprenticed with an upholsterer with every intention of making that her career. But once her daughter Ada was born, she had to find another creative outlet, and jewelry seemed like something she could do from home. "It blossomed out of necessity," Fomich says. It just so happened that right around the time Ada was born, Etsy was born, too. The website, an online marketplace that hosts artists looking to sell their goods, was the perfect outlet for her product. Her site on Etsy—tigerlillyshop.etsy.com—is named after the old-fashioned perennials that "grow out of control." Indeed, Fomich's style could also be called "out of control" (in a good way). She uses silver, brass, bronze, copper, and elements from nature. (She can often be found scouring Patterson Park or the Baltimore Museum of Art Sculpture Garden for twigs, maple seeds, pine-cones, acorns, and seed pods.) She then uses a process called electroforming to grow a thick layer of copper onto any organic object. She also collects "flat things" to press into metal. One of Fomich's most popular pieces is her fragile shrinky dink rings decorated with her original art work. And she also takes old fabric—ties, silk kimonos—and turns them into button jewelry. "It's a reincarnation," she says. "Something that can be enjoyed again." Her slightly schizophrenic style is not by accident. "I diversify my market base," she says. This helps attract a wide range of clients both online and at all the local art shows. "There's a lot of talent in this city." She should know.
How the birth of a baby and an online site helped a mom deliver.
Issue date: July, 2008