Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Amy Pfaffman

December 15, 2016

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Amy Pfaffman, creator of our Color Me Wonderful Necklace and Knitting Needle Statement Necklace.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist/maker?

Well, in a way, I’ve always been a designer. When I was a child, I was given a dollhouse and I never played with dolls in it. All I did was decorate the interior. In high school, I knew I wanted to go to art school for college. My step-mother recommended Rhode Island School of Design and I was lucky enough to be accepted. I went there to study graphic design, but once I got there I realized I was drawn to the three-dimensional world and changed my major to industrial design. The industrial design metal shop just happened to be across the hall from the jewelry and light metals department. I took a metalsmithing class and discovered the freedom and satisfaction of making jewelry. I was hooked!

What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist/maker?

There are several things that come to mind. First, I love finding new materials to work with or getting an idea for a new design. I also love going to shows and meeting my customers and fellow artists. They’re some of the nicest people in the world.

What does your typical day in the studio look like?

What I love is that every day is different. Most days I check my email for orders that have come in or customers with questions. After that I work on filling orders or processing materials, like cutting all those pencils into little segments. I’m also regularly ordering supplies and searching for new materials. I surround myself with materials and prototypes of things I want to make, and on slower days, I use those things to develop new designs.

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

Well, sort of. Kind of like I said in the previous question, I surround myself with inspiring materials, whether they become jewelry or are just the same concept of reuse. I have a bronze and brass vessel I made in college that holds paint brushes that might one day become jewelry, a little galvanized steel bucket filled with old nails that were removed from the front stoop of my 1889 San Francisco house, and a stone vase I bought at an art show years ago and gave to my father. Now that he’s gone, I have it, filled with some of his things.

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?

“Look, Mommy!” Children are very drawn to my work. They especially like my designs made from miniatures, things that move, and things they recognize like cake sprinkles and colored pencils. Usually, they’ve never seen such whimsical jewelry.

What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

Basically, “I love my life.” I never want to take it for granted. I love that I get to use my creativity to make things other people can use and enjoy, work from home in my studio with an amazing view and three kitty cats, and meet incredible people when I do shows.


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