Monday, January 11, 2010

Featured Shop - Blingaling

^^direct link to her shop above ^^

I was surfing around Etsy as I like to see what people are doing. I was in awe of what I saw! A blazing orange pendant with delicate wire-work on a background of cool blue. It was beautiful, it was unique, it was.... a broken tail-light?
This item led me to the shop Blingaling, run by Michele Rappoport. Her shop is filled with pieces that are created from "found" objects or recycled materials. I am floored by how creative her mind is and all the innovation that she has stuffed into a few pixels on

I decided that I wanted to see what made her mind tick, and what she was all about!

From cold and chilly Colorado to Sunny Tuscon, Arizona the following (unedited) interview took place!

BK: Who are you and how is that shown in your art/items?

MR: I am a 57-year-old woman who never grew up. I think and play like a kid and am still very curious and experimental. I think that’s why my work looks the way it does.

BK: What is that you do and why do you do it?

MR: I'm an alchemist! I take what is basically junk, and turn it into something that is pretty or useful, or both. I do it because it’s a challenge. You work with diamonds and gold, you’re bound to come up with something attractive. But turning shattered bits of tail light reflectors into shimmery earrings that someone is proud to wear... that’s more exciting to me.

BK: Where are you from and where are you now?

MR: I grew up in southern New Jersey and spent most of my life there. I now live in Tucson, Arizona and love it.

BK: What do you do when you aren’t crafting?

MR: When I’m not crafting I’m thinking about it, scanning the pavement for discarded, unloved things I can make useful again. I also travel around the country in an RV with my husband and two cats. (Great way to find junk!) I love to dance with a partner. I like swing, waltz, zydeco, cajun, and Argentine tango. I also teach jewelry-making.

BK: Who or what is your inspiration?

MR: I love Jessica Drenk, (, a young artist whose work is completely fresh and mind-bending. I also admire the work of a fellow Tucsonan, Joan Davidson, who makes elaborate designs out of tiny fruit labels. Generally, I get a kick out of most artists who use recycled materials, because they force you to look at familiar things in new ways.

BK: Where do you find the items you use?

MR: I find a lot of the materials I use – smashed aluminum cans, shattered tail light reflectors -- on the street. I spend a lot of time looking down!

BK: What is your favorite piece in your shop?

MR: I think it’s the Blue Hand. I planned on having a whole line of these hand sculptures. I made only one other hand so far, but it got stolen from a shop. Can you imagine somebody stealing something like that?


BK: Do you listen to music while you craft? If so, what genre/artists?

MR: I generally don’t listen to music when I make things. I like quiet. But I do enjoy a lot of different types of music. My favorite singer-songwriter of all time is John Prine. 

BK: If you have one dream/goal for this year, what is it?

MR: To surprise myself over and over again with good ideas. I really hope I can do that.

BK: What is your philosophy in life?

MR: Be true to yourself and do what you love. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t make a living at it! This is pretty basic advice but I wish I’d followed it sooner.

BK: What about Etsy do you love, and how does it help your business?

MR: I love how easy Etsy makes it to start an online business. You don’t need a lot of money or computer expertise. Just the willingness to work hard and stick with it. 

BK: Do you have a favorite store on Etsy?

MR: I have too many “favorite” stores to list! But I remember practically stalking Jane Dean’s shop when I first started, because I found her work so much fun. I also have a special fondness for Purple Toes Jewelry, because the owner was so helpful to me when I was just getting started. She gave me my first sale just to show me how it worked! 

If you are  looking for that unique gift, check out her shop! She provides a shipping discount, so when at her shop take a look! This also supports re-purposing,  and keeps more so-called trash out of the dumpster.


  1. Very cool, I love how you do 'interviews' it makes it so much more personal!

  2. Fascinating interview and most fun to read. Thank you, Ben for taking the time to do these interviews. You can learn a lot about another creative person and get wonderful inspiration from it.

  3. Great interview! Wonderful artisan! Congratulations to both of you!

  4. Thanks for posting about this Etsy artisan -- loved the road rage earrings!

  5. This interview is inspering. It sounds like if one uses Etsy it is a lot easier to persue your passion than to think about presuing it.

  6. Very interesting interview. Keep on with your creating... that's the way to do it in life.

  7. Great interview - like the bit about being an Alchemist, an interesting viewpoint

  8. Interesting interview about the bits and pieces of an artist's life.