Local Artist Check-in: Elaine Butcher

Posted on May 14, 2014 by


SONY DSCUsher in spring with some unique, local, wearable art! This May, we are featuring two of Cville’s favorite artists who use their creativity and talents to create beautiful pieces that you can admire as well as wear: Elaine Butcher and Jessica Lee.

You may have seen Elaine’s pieces while wandering through the magical Barn Swallow or while looking for the perfect Spring outfit at BitterSweet, or maybe you’ve even stopped by her eclectic downtown studio. Elaine’s geometric-inspired line of jewelry, Elaine B Jewelry, is a breath of fresh air from the ordinary shapes and silhouettes you’ll find from typical jewelry lines. Her pieces are constructed from natural metal and gem elements and will become staples in your wardrobe once you realize how one unique piece can transform your style.

Her studio is a beautiful space with natural lighting that floods the working stations that are littered with both experimental pieces and the pieces that build her repertoire of geometric staples including hexagons, hearts, cubes and more.

Keep updated with Elaine’s ever evolving line of jewelry and growing list of vendors!

Elaine Butcher

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not Cville, when did you come here?

I grew up in Denver, but spent summers in Charlottesville.  I have had family here for most of my life, so I had two homes.  After graduating high school in Denver I spent a year in Oregon before moving here. I finished school at VCU five years ago and I’ve been in Cville ever since.

When and why did you start making art? What mediums have you worked with, or particularly enjoy?

I have always made things.  In elementary school I drew catalogs and floor plans, made ink, and knitted.  At 11 I got a sewing machine and made my own clothes.  In high school I was really into drawing and a master friendship bracelet maker.  For my BFA I studied primarily hot glass and metal, though I love to experiment with all crafts.SONY DSC

Most influential artist as a child? Teen? Adult?

I love Charles and Ray Eames because they did a little bit of everything and had an amazing design studio filled with every medium you can think of.  They redefined something as iconic, functional, and mundane as a chair.

What aspects of life excite you, stir your affections, fuel your passions, inspire your art? What influences your art?

My motto is:  if you do it now, later it will be done. I get a lot of pleasure out of efficiency and everyday items with great design.  I am a realist.  I love geometric patterns, natural light and airy spaces, color, travel,  noise, and baby animals.  I am inspired by most everything; architecture, other people’s art, poorly made goods, functionality, and nature.

What message(s) do you convey through your art? What do you want people to take from wearing your jewelry?

I want to make things that people can interact with everyday.  I want to make functional objects with great design. I do this through small details and light weight and restraint from over design. I hope that people will look at my work and say “I’m glad that is there.”SONY DSC

What does a day in the life of an artist look like from your perspective?

It means working hard at whatever you want.

I always have a list of things to do. I am very jumpy and all over the place, but it all gets done. Occasionally Ill give myself an experimentation day, but usually I’m in the studio filling orders and sending emails.

What makes Cville special for artists of all forms?

Charlottesville has been a great place to start a business.  People are very supportive, have great style, and are excited about handmade and local items.  It’s a small town, so it’s easy to get to know and work with amazing people here, and you can be a bigger deal in our small pool.


Favorite place in Cville to… be creative?

A friend’s back porch.

Favorite place in Cville to… see art?

McGuffey and local shops-I love clothes, dishes, jewelry, and functional craft most of all.

Favorite place in Cville to… grab a bite?

Monsoon, Now and Zen, and Bizou.

SONY DSCFavorite place in Cville to… get a drink?

The Alley Light has amazing drinks.

Any other Cville favorites?

I love Market St. Market.  It’s so nice to be able to walk and get groceries.

What does the not-so-distant future hold for you and your business? Where can we find your jewelry?

I am working on putting together a photo shoot for a new lookbook with a local photographer and stylist.

You can find my jewelry at BitterSweet downtown and the Barn Swallow on Ivy road.  Or, come by my downtown studio by appointment.

What are some of your favorite pieces that you have made and why?

I love all my geometric gem cage shapes.  Especially the diamond.  I think of them as tiny wearable sculptures.

Lastly…Describe yourself in 10 syllables or less.

More experiences are better.