Friday, March 4, 2011

INterview: Rana Salame

TPM – Hi Rana! Thanks again for your time and agreeing to the INterview! Tell us a little about yourself…you were born in Lebanon, correct? Do you have any memories of living there?
I was born in Beirut in 1982, during the beginning of the Lebanese war. My mother has told me stories about how highly stressful it was for our family to escape the bombings from the north to the south, yet how life was still normal. It amazes me how anyone can live in or around such turmoil, especially the effect it has on small children. The memories I have are pleasant though, of labne and cucumber sandwiches (labne is a type of salty yogurt cheese), the Mediterranean sea, and playing on the ancient roman ruins of Baalbek.  We left when I was four years old and joined my mothers side of the family who were already living in Dearborn, MI, where I grew up. I went to college in Mount Pleasant, MI,  lived in Chicago for six years, and I now reside in Anderson (its a long story and I'm sticking to it). 
I am far left, looking at the ducks and I still dress as colorfully. 
TPM – Jewelry, photography…is there anything you don’t do? Have you always been interested in creating? Do you have a favorite medium? (Your photography is wonderful, by the way!)
I like to say I am always doing the four c's, cooking, cleaning, creating, and crafting, interchangeably and individually. A few things I recently learned and did: tiled the kitchen floor (I am a DIY lover), completed my studio, forged three beautiful rings, made some B&G both from scratch (that was breakfast). As for my snap happiness, I took a photojournalism class at CMU my senior year and I fell in love with the camera. I currently freelance and do mostly weddings, band stuff and portraits. Check it out here.  I began making jewelry only last year but found that I have a real knack for it. My partner Nathan signed me up for Jewelry Making 1 at Lillstreet in Chicago last winter and it was really more like metalsmithing 101. I learned some great techniques and have been continuing to learn and grow as a metalsmith and jewelry designer. 
Part of my studio and my love Marbles!
TPM – According to your blog, you’re the “Lebanese Martha Stewart in training” - what kinds of things inspire you to create? How do you mange to stay inspired and creating while juggling every day life? 
Inspiration is everywhere, I write about all the things I love on my blog (A Vision of Love). Or as my bestie Kendal calls it, the Chronicles of Ranacles (pronounced rah-na). As for striving to be a Martha, nothing says love like DIY, especially when it's from scratch. I live in a 1890's farmhouse on three acres of land, I tend to my gardens, prune the fruit trees, cook and bake a wide variety of foods, from Mediterranean delights, to all American classics! I have made my own pickles, dried my own herbs, harvested walnuts, made a paper lantern, theme parties (with Martha's famous cocktails) and the list goes on. My house keeps me busy from inside to out through each season. I love entertaining, great conversations, learning and teaching. Creating just happens.
My house.
TPM – You have a shop on Etsy – are you pleased with it’s success? Do you have any advice for craft mavens thinking of opening a shop? What are your favorite Etsy features (Treasuries, Shop Local, Pounce, Teams, etc)? 
I am happy with my progression so far, I have learned so much from Etsy and the fellow Etsians that I have reached out to. I love the community of it all! I love everything about Etsy, I think it is fantastic. I think the best advice I can give is to be persistent, keep growing, watch the wonderful tutorials that pertain to you and actually apply the knowledge that is presented, there are so many inspiring features on Etsy, and I think I am just starting to figure it out. I am still in the beginning stages of my shop, and can't wait to see where I am a year from now. I am currently working on revamping my banner and general appearance. The two things that keep getting brought up are the photographs and the story, and I am still working on it. I am great at capturing moments but for some reason these shiny little things elude me. I have been told to look at my favorites and find the trend in the picture style, and strive for that. If anyone has advice or feedback I welcome it! Please convo me! 
TPM – Please share a few of your favorite items listed in your shop and tell us a bit about them. 

Pink Calcedony and Vintage Charm Sterling Earrings

I love these earrings, the way they swing, the color, and so I am not redundant, I usually explain why I love a piece in the description of the item in my Etsy shop. Another of my favs are my crystal teardrop necklaces I love the way they catch the light. I would heart  them all for different reasons! I take great pride in creating items that are well crafted and elegant. I was recently commissioned to make an engagement ring with a non traditional gem and it was amazing (still waiting for the proposal so I can post pictures!). 
Drusy and sterling silver ring commission. 

TPM – I love to learn new techniques and crafts; if you could learn one new crafty skill, what would it be? 
I would love to learn to sew and how to preserve small flowers and butterfly wings in an enclosure.  
TPM – Any closing thoughts – crafty or otherwise? 
This month I am going to do my best to learn more about SEO. This PDF is a great resource that is mentioned on Etsy. And I can't wait for the first bonfire this spring.
TPM – Well, I can’t rightly close out this interview without asking a totally random would just be so unlike me! If you could be trapped in an elevator with any celebrity, who would it be, and why?
Bjork, because I think we would pass the time by making beautiful songs with the buttons and the acoustics of it all.
I love all her images, they are simply stunning!
Interview by The Peach Martini


  1. Rana, if you ever want to sew I live in Yorktown and would love to teach you! Great Interview!

  2. Thanks for sharing with us, Rana! Your home sounds lovely - the fruit trees and wonderful!