My Shop's Goal is Zero Waste
The fashion industry produces tons of waste each year. When I set up my shop I wanted to make sure I didn’t contribute waste to landfills. I design my pieces with the environment in mind, using recycled metals, and recycle the scrap metal produced from my shop. I constantly look for better ways to produce my work with less waste, and I don’t use processes, or chemicals, that are harmful to the environment.
I believe in slow production and creating a higher quality product. My designs are heirloom quality, meaning that they are designed to last. I wear test all my designs to make sure they are ready for real world use.
I do also make thinner, dainty, ring designs that are not meant to be worn every day. And there are soft stones that should not be worn everyday as rings, but are fine for necklaces and earrings. The most popular soft gemstone stones: turquoise, tourmaline, pearl, opal, coral, emerald, amber, and onyx.
The dainty trend is a beautiful look and takes less raw materials to produce, so it has a smaller impact on the Earth. Though, if you lead a very active lifestyle, I do not recommend wearing these types. And you can wear them if your heart is set on it, just know that the stones will wear down and the metal will wear down too. And since they are made of precious metals they can easily be recycled.
I use old world metalsmithing techniques and slow production, instead of modern mass production. One of my favorite handmade techniques is called Keum boo, it uses pure 24k gold or pure fine silver foil. There is no waste at all with this technique. I use a few modern techniques too to help me keep my shops waste to a minimum.
I studied metalsmithing under Robert Bruya, an award winning metalsmith, known for using bones, feathers, and found objects in his work. He encouraged his students to learn and design from nature, working with raw materials by hand. This method of working spoke deeply to me. I also studied under an award winning fiber artist, Akiko Kotani, from 1989 to 1992 and sometimes incorporate natural fibers into my work.
I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, in a sleepy little town called Plain Grove, with miles of farms, forests and marshland. I was surrounded by natural beauty. As a result, the environment is very important to me and I love working with natural materials.
Orders come wrapped in acid free unbleached paper or in a craft gift box and tied in raffia palm. All recyclable, including the mailing container. Zero waste.
The majority of the jewelry pieces I create are one of a kind pieces. Though I do have a few lines that I will produce multiple pieces by hand. All my work is designed and made by me, my hand.
I no longer make custom orders. I used to, but it was time consuming, unprofitable, and customers are happier when they purchase my designs instead of creating their own. I would rather be able to craft more beautiful pieces that people love and wear, giving them the best chance to have a long life, and possibly become a cherished heirloom.
My Sweet & Simple line of jewelry is minimalist, understated, simple. I created this line because I like my jewelry to reflect my mood. Sometimes you want a piece that’s delicate or understated and that you don’t have to think about what it will go with. Sweet and simple pieces can be worn for everyday or special occasions. These pieces make great gifts due to their simplicity.
I stopped making all brass jewelry, I use copper instead. The biggest reason is nickel. About 61.4% to 66.3% of people are allergic to nickel. I use it as an accent where it will not touch the skin. I don't want my customers having a nasty reaction to the jewelry I make for them. Another is heirloom viability, while designer copper jewelry is collected, solid brass jewelry is not. I want to make sure the items I create have the best chance at a long and cherished life. The third reason is copper is 100% recyclable, and less likely to be discarded into a landfill.
The vendors I buy my supplies from are mostly small businesses, like mine. If I can find what I need from a small business, I purchase from them, rather than a large company. I like to know that I make a direct impact on the people I meet and work with.