Monday, January 7, 2013

Kia from Chocolate Cherri Bomb Art; A SweetShop interview!

Happy Monday morning,  Sweetshoppers! For many of us, it’s the first week back after the new year, so Happy New Year to everyone as well. To get our crafty year started off right, we’re featuring yet another member of the SweetShop C.I.A (C.rafters I. A.dmire) here on the blog…the one and only Kia Beech of Chocolate Cherri Bomb Art!
This is Kia! You can buy that hat HERE.

I first became aware of Kia because we’re both members of  Etsy Artists of Color, but I started getting to know her a bit because she won a giveaway that I hosted way back when. Unfortunately, the giveaway went a bit wonky and the prize package got lost in the mail and I wound up having to send another pair of earrings out. Kia was extremely gracious about the process though, and I was so impressed by how understanding she was that I made a point of paying attention to her crafting skills and sites more closely.

I have to say, I’m glad I did. Kia is one of those rare and gifted omni-crafters—she does a little bit of everything, from painting to crocheting to jewelry-making and beyond—and she does it well. She’s a young, passionate crafter and I really love seeing the diversity of her creative output.

So, that said, let’s find out a little about Chocolate Cherri Bomb Art from Kia herself!!

Let's start with a really basic question today...who are you? Meaning, what's your name and your company's name? How did you pick that name? Tell me a little about yourself, how you got started and what you're up to now.
Well, my name is Kia Beech, and my company name is Chocolate Cherri Bomb. Under the company name I have different names for the different things I make! For instance, my body care is labeled Brown Honey B's (since I use honey in EVERYTHING for the body and my last name begins with a B) and my jewelry is labeled Thundering Rain. I came up with Chocolate Cherri Bomb back in high school. There was a store in the area where I loved to hang out called Cherry Bomb. I liked how powerful and little cherry bombs were, and I'm chocolate, so... that's how it started! 

I started crafting when I was little. I always loved to make things. I remember being five and making plastic bead jewelry for people! My father painted and did photography, so he began giving me pointers when I decided I wanted to try it out around age 12. I really got started in my teenage years because I hated spending money on things I felt I could craft myself. So I began making jewelry, crocheting, taking photos, and painting and others loved it, so I turned it into a business.

I still make things when I can, but I am now a new full-time labor and delivery nurse. So my art life is my second "job", but it's what I've always loved.

Wow, it sounds like you've got a lot on your plate. One of the things that fascinates me about you is that you are skilled at so many different types of craft. How did you get started doing all of these things? Do you have a favorite? And do you feel like your skills influence each other? you sometimes paint using something you learned while crocheting as an inspiration, for example?

So many different things! Lets see...
"Love Is A Stronghold"; original painting by Kia Beech/Chocolate Cherri Bomb Art. Purchase HERE.

Painting; I was inspired to start by my dad, as I mentioned. But I didn't start hardcore painting until I went to college. I went through a rough breakup and someone suggested that I return to painting to channel the emotions. Ever since then, there was no going back. I paint from emotion, and also a lot of African American love inspires my work. My paintings are probably what I enjoy creating the most because so much of ME is in each piece. But it can be stressful getting it JUST right. 
Handmade beaded necklace; purchase HERE

Jewelry; I just love jewelry! It's my weakness! I love having something pretty adorn my wrists and neck, and I like sharing it with others. It's probably my second favorite to create and sell because its the fastest, and I buy everyone else's jewelry and rarely wear my own! Most of my jewelry is inspired by color, and certain stones and their metaphysical properties. I research what each stone is said to inspire and I incorporate that into each piece.

One of my favorite photography pieces by Chocolate Cherri Bomb.
Buy it in a set of three prints HERE.
Photography; I always had a camera. I looove to take pictures of everything! There's really no story behind that one... Dad just gave me a camera and I've been taking photos (nature and landscapes) ever since.

Crochet and knit; I like being warm and cozy, and being able to rock a hat in any color I choose if I give it just a few hours. Although I think the yarn work is stunning when finished, it is my least favorite to complete because its so time consuming and very taxing on my hands and wrists. 
The very creative Sweet Butter Grits exfoliator! Purchase HERE

Body care; This was inspired by my hatred for preservative and chemical-laden body products and not being able to find ANYTHING to work on my acne. I just went to the kitchen one day and began mixing ingredients, and after much trial and error, I got a pretty good handle on some products!

They don't really influence each other, but they are all inspired by something.

It sounds like your dad has been a big inspiration in your crafting life. Who are some of your other crafty inspirations and teachers?
One of my biggest painting inspirations is Christie Grant, a wonderful local artist who has so much vision and power behind each of her pieces. I have a whole collection of her work myself! My partner is also a huge inspiration and a huge supporter. He is the male figure in many of my nude and couple pieces, and he has just been great. My mom has supported me from the jump, and she helps me with packaging and shipping. She's the best!

We all need good support networks, and vision too! Tell me a little bit about where you hope to go with your crafting. Do you have any goals or hopes for the upcoming year?

I reeeeally hope one day to make this my job and not just a "side hustle". I would love to craft all day every day, and I do want to start devoting more time to more creating. I've started back on jewelry recently and it feels awesome, just gotta put the time in. I plan to paint more pieces, finally enter into some art shows and festivals, and show everyone what I'm about.
Another lovely photography piece; "The Lone Rubra". Purchase HERE.

Best of luck to you on that! Hopefully some of the people reading will support you by buying your fantastic art. One more question for today...what do you think is the most important thing that people get out of crafting(either as a hobby or a job). What do you think crafting has added to your life and adds to others?

Crafting, in a sense, gives me purpose. It keeps me sane! It's soothing and I feel like it's what I was made to do. When I give away art or jewelry or someone makes a purchase, it's like I'm giving them a piece of me because I put so much into everything I make. The receiver gets something made with love, and I get the satisfaction of making someone happy! THAT, not the money or fame, is the best thing a crafter can get out of crafting.

There you have it SweetShoppers--the one and only Kia Beech! Many thanks to Kia for sharing a little bit of herself in this interview. Please support her by visiting Chocolate Cherri Bomb at the following sites; 

Peace, beautiful people! Don't forget to visit Chocolate Cherri Bomb Art!

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