Rhoda-Headshot

Go Mad for Change at InLiquid’s Art for the Cash Poor 16, June 12 – 14, at Crane Arts. This week, we’re featuring work by artists who embody change by espousing beauty, liberty, affordability, and sustainability.

Rhoda Crawford combines functionality with Victorian sensibility through her Manic Muse line. The multi-tasking maven, who donates to pet rescues through her Etsy shop, will be at AFTCP16.

Could you tell me a bit about your arts background?

I am a self-taught & self-representing jewelry designer with an interest in arts & crafts since a young girl. No formal training, just a fine mix of desire, moxie, and willingness to fail! My education and background are in real estate and economics, both of which lend the skills and resources to successfully offer my love and passion for designing jewelry to my beloved customer base.

What is it about the Victorian and Edwardian eras that makes them such fascinating sources for inspiration?

My most admired historical figure is Marie Antoinette. Although she lived well before the Victorian and Edwardian eras, she was notoriously known for her love for beautiful clothing and adornments. She exuded the finest class and style while maintaining her dynamic role as Queen of France; her loyalty and resolute manner as a woman was well-ahead of her time. Victorian and Edwardian jewelry are reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s style and grace. Their jewelry designs were romanticized symbols of their time, both eras have always been regarded as extravagant and sentimental. When little girls play “dress-up,” the idea of pearls and diamonds and lace are amongst the notions of what makes them feel special. Many of my designs incorporate figures from the natural world such as honey bees, dragonflies, beetles, and butterflies as entomological themes were predominant in both the Victorian and Edwardian eras. While my jewelry designs echo these inspirations of the past, I am able to offer them in a modern fashion that can be worn casually or allow that little girl inside of us to play “dress-up” for a special occasion.

Why do you make it a practice to incorporate functionality into your work?

Functionality, in any capacity, is a sign of the times we’re living in. I’ve found sporting a trinket on our person that represents our individual style while also offering a functional purpose have been amongst my most favored jewelry designs. My monocles, magnifiers, compasses, and working timepieces embellished with Victorian inspiration are Manic Muse’s signature pieces. Recently, a few of my magnifier necklace designs were acquired for the 2nd season of SyFy Channel’s werewolf TV series, Bitten. I am anxious to see if they make the cut!

I understand animal welfare is an important issue. Can you tell me about the ways you’ve used your artwork to support this cause?

Animal welfare is the most important issue in my life. All of my beloved pets have always been rescues. Since Manic Muse’s inception in 2009, I have donated hundreds of jewelry pieces, artwork, and crafty wares to animal rescue fundraisers and silent auctions all over the country. Every month I send monetary donations to pet rescues which are funded through my Etsy shop and vendor markets. I think it’s a brilliant way to make a hearty donation just by taking a few bucks from my pocket and creating a little something with my own hands. It also gives my customers great satisfaction knowing their purchase will benefit an animal in need of a new home or medical care. For me, it is the most efficient way I can offer a little resolution to a substantial cause.

entomology

Can you tell me a little about the work you will have for sale at Art for the Cash Poor 16?

This year, I’ll be offering my signature clockwork, cameos, specimen jewelry, and an exclusive AFTCP favorite, floating glass framed antique dictionary art prints with retro images. New this year, I’m excited to introduce my Victorian bobby pins upcycled from vintage costume jewelry, vintage sterling silver spoon necklaces, and vintage teacup gardens with mini live plants with hand-sculpted and hand-painted fairy houses and little mushrooms.

What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s AFTCP?

Since I live nearby in Fishtown, AFTCP is the one market that all of my friends and regular customers seem to flock to each year. And of course, I am anxious to see what little furry guys will be visiting us from Street Tails Animal Rescue!

The weekend-long fair invites attendees to navigate the Crane Arts space, which will be bursting with art vendors, live musical performances, culinary curiosities, and an outdoor beer garden. The addition of a Friday night ticketed preview party on June 12, 5:30 – 9 pm, serves as a meet-and-greet with the artists and a fundraiser for AIDS Fund, offering guests an exclusive sneak-peek at the festivities to follow. More details, including a full list of bands and participating artists, at the link.

Leah Macdonald

See Leah Macdonald's full Portfolio