Tell Us Something About You And Your Jewelry
I began my career as a studio jeweler via apprenticeship for Holly Lee Studio in Central PA. My next step was to attend Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, majoring in Fine Arts with an emphasis on Jewelry and Metals. My post-bachelaurate work was as a custom jewelry designer and fabricator for My Jewel Shop in Jenkintown, PA. My passion to create designs in silver and gold were what drew me to open my own studio. I currently spend my days teaching the tradition of handcrafting jewelry to adults and teens when I’m not producing my jewelry line in my Philadelphia studio.
What Kind Of Materials Are You Using?
I am fascinated with the natural materials put forth by mother earth. I use real rocks with fascinating patterns and crystal formations. I set these in sterling silver and gold. Generally, my designs are in sterling silver because I love big giant gems, and it takes a lot of material to set them. Each setting is handmade for the gem that inspired the design.
What Got You Started Jewelry Crafting?
Teen Angst? I was a teenager when I found metalsmithing. I had been uninhibited and very quirky all of my life. I found school to be socially difficult. When I began making jewelry, my thoughts about everything else melted away. I found that I could be so intensely focused on the task of soldering or hammering that nothing else mattered. It is a solitary craft, and all that hammering was probably good stress relief. Back when I started, I was happy to find something that I could do with headphones on. Ironically, my clear talent for the craft eventually gained the respect of my peers.
How and/or Where Do You Sell Your Jewelry?
I sell my jewelry through several avenues. Major craft shows and trunk shows are my opportunity to meet customers and discuss designs one-on-one. I also sell my jewelry via my internet shop on Etsy and through other social media networks such as facebook and twitter. Additionally, I’ve partnered with several area galleries and stores which display my work for resale.
What Is Your Source of Inspiration?
First, my material is an inspiration. I love gemstones. I am fascinated by the secret places in the earth’s crust which offer up these extraordinary gifts. I wonder how men knew the beauty of gemstones before they were able to be cut as they are today with many glittering facets. In some ways, I seek simply to make these treasures wearable. On the other hand, I know that I am carefully choosing gems and in some cases omitting their use because of my viewpoint as a designer. I love fashion. I love to make things that women respond to by feeling strong and empowered. I think every woman wants to feel like a celebrity sometimes. I am also inspired by the Art Noveau movement, espcially by Erte who made women look like goddesses and fairies in his drawings. The Art Noveau flowing lines and sense of movement are elements that I carry through in my work. Less commonly noticed, but very important to me is the strict attention to the tiniest details in Art Noveau which I translate into accent stones, dangling pearls and tiny dots of silver and gold as in my cosmos series.
Why Handmade Jewelry?
Certain pieces of jewelry have been the most emotionally charged, sentimental items of my life. Many could say that this is true. I feel that jewelry is so precious, so meaningful that it should continue to by made by the careful hands of a good hearted human. I often say prayers over a special piece of jewelry as I make it. An engagement ring for a friend, a gift for a new mother, these pieces are unforgettable material markers for spiritual moments in our lives. It has been a blessing for me to be part of that for so many people. And in between these deeply emotional pieces that I make, I am able to take out my favorite gemstone of the day and create the greatest piece that I can imagine, something that would make a woman feel great about herself.
Featured Jewelry Artist: The Jewelry Observer Interviews Layne Freedline Copyright © 2010 The Jewelry Observer All Rights Reserved.