Browsing Tag

Jewelry

Maker Stories

Thinking Outside the Jewelry Box: Marion Cage McCollam’s Walnut and Steel Magnetic Jewelry Holder

July 21, 2016

Marion Cage McCollam considers herself a designer first, an artist second. “By that, I mean that I am more of a problem solver,” the Columbia University-trained architect says. “My background defines my work in that there is always a technical as well as a creative component to everything I do.” In other words, whether the New Orleans resident is making hardware for a home, a dog tag for a beloved pet, or a ring for a human, she pushes herself to achieve elegance in form and function.

Marion Cage McCollam | UncommonGoods

Marion Cage McCollam reflected in a row of mirrors while working in her New Orleans studio

Marion developed her fluid yet strong sensibilities when she was in her 20s working under world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, who created the Aquatics Centre for the 2012 London Olympics among myriad other celebrated structures. “She was a mentor to me,” says Marion. After Hadid’s untimely death in March 2016, Marion found herself creating a special series: “My latest jewelry collection was inspired by the forms I was introduced to when working for her.” It’s the elegance of these shapes, as well as Marion’s thoughtfulness, that sets her work apart. The designer and Big Easy shop owner tells us about her ultimate influence and the creative process behind her latest work.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Alex Monroe

July 14, 2016
Alex Monroe

Alex Monroe in his London shop, photos by Emily Hodges

It’s only natural to “ooh” and “aah” over Alex Monroe’s handmade jewelry, which is inspired by beautiful botanicals, woodland animals, and beloved everyday objects. He has the craftsmanship to shape precious metals into delicate designs through traditional jewelry-making techniques and the keen artist’s sixth sense to capture the smallest intricacy. Through Alex’s eyes, no detail goes unnoticed. What’s really magical, from the engagement rings showcasing whimsical twig bands to watering can necklaces with sapphire droplets dripping from their spouts, is that a different story can unfold from each of Alex’s designs depending on the individual wearing them.

How Does Your Garden Grow? Necklace by Alex Monroe | UncommonGoods

How Does Your Garden Grow? Necklace by Alex Monroe | UncommonGoods

Upon entering Alex’s London-based shop, I was pleasantly surprised to be standing in a room that mimicked The Jungle Book. Lush trees and green plant decor covered the walls and pineapples seemed to float against the windows — yet signs of old-school civilization like binoculars, globes, and magnifying glasses peeked out on top of the jewelry displays and handmade wooden cabinets. One glance around the shop and it’s obvious that the natural world and useful objects are ongoing themes in Alex’s designs.

After visiting his shop, I had the opportunity to stop by the charming Victorian cobbled yard in south London where he first started making his own jewelry in 1986. Today, he has a team of skilled jewelers recreating his designs in that very same studio.

See inside this whimsical world and learn more about Alex’s journey as a world-renowned jewelry designer who has worked to perfect his aesthetic over the past 30 years.

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Maker Stories

Andrea Panico: 3D Printing and Reinventing the I.D. Necklace

June 24, 2016

Puppy wheelchairs, prosthetics, and pizza in space. What do these things have in common? They’ve all been 3D printed. Once the stuff of science fiction (think the replicators of Star Trek’s Enterprise), 3D printing is rapidly becoming familiar technology for artists, inventors, and industrial designers. Although 3D printing is associated with creating a wide variety of things, it’s not necessarily associated with making beautiful things. One artist who’s working on changing that is Andrea Panico, maker of our Common Edge 3D Printed Initial Necklace.

Panico Common Edge 2

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Maker Stories

A Throne For Your Trinkets: Tracy Shea’s Pedestal Jewelry Holder

April 22, 2016

Tracy Shea | Pedestal Jewelry Stand | UncommonGoods

Tracy Shea remembers her first time. As a sophomore at Ohio’s Mentor High School she took a ceramics course and was instantly hooked. “From the minute I touched clay, it’s always been something I wanted to do,” she recalls.

She scored a partial scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of the Arts, but ended up accepting a full-ride to a different college. “My parents refused to pay for an art education,” she explains. “They were like, ‘You’ll never make it as an artist.’”

Fast forward three decades and the Garrettsville, Ohio mom of two spends her days making her popular Pedestal Jewelry Holder. The lace-imprinted ceramic stand — fitted with 50 holes to hang earrings — was born from a desire to display heirloom pieces passed down to her from her aunt. Eyeing her collection “drove me to think, people have stuff that they don’t necessarily want to throw in a drawer,” she says. “People collect stuff for a reason — there are emotional ties. So this is a special place to put things that are really special.” She puts her process — and her life as an artist — on display.

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Maker Stories

Precious Gem Chakra Balancing Necklace:
Rocking the Chakras With Erwin List Sanchez and Deborah Stotzky

March 30, 2016

Erwin List Sanchez and Deborah Stotzky

Jewelry artists and devoted yogis Erwin List Sanchez and Deborah Stotzky, makers of our new Precious Gem Chakra Balancing Necklace, believe in beautiful stones – and not just because they’re pretty. They keep carefully-chosen pieces of quartz crystals around their studio because of the power they hold.

In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, the term “chakra” (Sanskrit for wheel) refers to human energy centers. There are seven main chakras in the human body. It was probably inevitable that Erwin and Deborah would create a necklace that beautifully visualizes these powerful, invisible forces.

 

Precious Gem Chakra Balancing Necklace | UncommonGoods

Precious Gem Chakra Balancing Necklace | UncommonGoods
Gems, from top to bottom: Amethyst, Indigo Sapphire, Topaz, Emerald, Citrine, Orange Sapphire, Ruby. (Note: Image is highly magnified. See below for actual size image of pendant on model.)

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Maker Resources

5 Ways to Attract Retail Buyers to Your Brand

March 16, 2016

attract retail buyers

*Editor’s note: For many artists, the idea of approaching retail buyers can seem intimidating. We’ve tapped Emilie Shapiro, jewelry designer, instructor and author of the new book, How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line, to share some ideas that budding entrepreneurs can use to attract retail buyers to their brand. 

 

1. Design a Marketable Collection

Whether you are starting from scratch or have created hundreds of pieces, making a collection is very different from designing just one piece. Designing a collection is about translating one design into many different forms. For example, when creating a jewelry collection, you should be able to translate a design for a ring into a necklace, earrings and a bracelet. Every customer will gravitate toward a certain type of piece. Some customers love rings and that is all they buy while other customers want pieces that go together. Retail buyers for a wholesale account will typically want to present the full collection so there is something for everyone.

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Maker Stories

Beach Glass Beauties: Jeanne Kollecker’s Marvelous Marble Pendants

February 11, 2016

It was a magazine article that drew Jeanne Kollecker to the arts. “About five years ago, I read an article on beach glass in Lake Erie Living,” she explains. Intrigued, the Chardon, Ohio resident decided to search for some herself on the shores of Lake Erie near her house. “I started hunting and it became an addiction. I knew right away I wanted to turn it into jewelry. You can find a piece and just say, ‘Wow, this would make a great pendant, or an earring,’” she says. She took classes on silversmithing at the local community college, and kept looking for beach glass (so named when it comes from fresh water; sea glass comes from salt water). “Then,” she says, “I found my first marble.”

The beach marble, to the uninitiated, is more or less the holy grail of lakeside treasures — made all the more desirable by the many legends of the object’s origins (more on that below). “They’re such a rare find that when you find one, you do a happy dance,” says Jeanne, who manages a veterinary office by day. “The mystery of them is so much fun.”

As a proud member of The North American Sea Glass Association, she never alters the state of the marbles she finds. “I just wash them with warm soap and water.” The various colors, sizes and finishes of the baubles make each of her pieces unique. “Everything is one-of-a-kind” she says. “No one else in the world is wearing the same piece.”

She takes us through her process — and behind the mystery of the marbles.

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Design

Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklace 7 Ways

January 15, 2016

We knew that jewelry designer Stefanie Wolf’s Mosaic Necklaces are beautiful, versatile pieces, but we didn’t know that just how many ways you can wear them until yesterday, when Stefanie sent us this great video showing seven ways. (We’ll admit, it’s three more than we’d thought of, and we LOVE the new suggestions.)

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