Friday, March 21, 2014

Meet Your Makers: Mimi Antonetti of Nautilus

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business:  My name is Mimi Antonetti and I make chain maille jewelry.  The weaves I use are based on Persian, European and Asian patterns used for battle armor and are made by weaving small jump rings together using pliers (instead a hammer and anvil!) to create a piece of modern 'armor' art! Currently, I work with aluminum, bronze, brass, stainless steel and use various beads, pearls, etc. I have also started to blend maille with other jewelry styles and have started a line of chain maille and kumihimo that I call the Harmony line.

How did you come up with your business name? I majored in Geology and Paleontology while in college and graduate school. The price of oil went down and there were no jobs in the field but I always loved fossils. My favorite was the Ammonite, or modern-day Nautilus. I love how it created a new chamber as it grows. I use that as a metaphor for my life - creating new chambers as I go through new chapters of my life.
Where do you live?  I live 30 miles north of Downtown Pittsburgh in the lovely 200+ year old town of Harmony.


Who’s in your family?
My family is my wonderful husband Mike, my son Andrew, step-daughter Kim, my step-son Nic, his wife Em and our granddaughter Claire. Not to be excluded are the furbabies - dogs Lucky, Buster and Emma and cat Bea.

If you could sit down and talk to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to sit down once more with my grandfather. He passed in 1979 at the age of 91 and he was my hero. Besides being a graduate of West Point, a Brigadier General and a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, he emulated George Washington and wrote many books. He would always invite my sisters and I to sit with him and he told the most wonderful stories. As we got older he would ask our opinions on current day issues and was a wonderful sounding board for our views. I miss him so very much these days, especially since my mom, his daughter, recently passed.

What inspires you?  My inspiration comes from nature around me, from being challenged in my craft by my peers and the pleasure I receive when a customer purchases a piece because it spoke to them.
What is your favorite item you make for Boutique 208 and why?  I have just started working in stainless steel and have a couple items in Boutique 208. I would say my favorite is the convertible lariat necklace since it can be worn 2 different ways for 2 completely different looks.

What is your favorite item at Boutique 208 that’s not one of your own and why? It is so difficult to choose just one, but as a person who has always been mesmerized by glass, Amy Cornelius Walsh's stained glass is just breathtaking.

What advice can you offer to someone who would like to start selling their handmade creations? 
Never give up. I was in the corporate world for 26 years and my creativity was shelved as I just didn't have the time. After being laid off, I decided it was a good a time as any to get back to my creative side. In the process, I discovered and taught myself chain maille and it has opened up a whole new world for me.

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