Jewelry never ceases to intrigue me. It’s like a magnet. I am always drawn to it because I feel a certain energy from each piece I wear. Jewelry inspired by travel is even more compelling. Handmade, artisan jewelry is my favorite kind and I met some local jewelry artisans who create some gorgeous pieces which really represent the authenticity and spirit behind them. When I discovered the gypsy connection to the artists, I had to interview them for gypsyfamilytravel! It turns out we had in common a love for world travel and cultures.
Your website is amazing….what got you started in this craft and industry?
Really, it started when I was living down in Mexico. I went down there to travel, learn Spanish and see the world a little bit. I ended up meeting some artisans who were making jewelry selling in the open marketplace and started making jewelry with them. For me, at that time, It was more like “how can I fund my travels, stay here longer and do something interesting?” I’d sell in the marketplace, trade for tamales and live very “gypsy.” Then, I fell in love with it. When I came back to the states, my friend had a coffee shop and I asked her if I could sell my jewelry in there. It did really well so I kept adding to other shops, doing shows, eventually galleries and it has organically grown. Two years ago, we decided to go all in and make it our full time gig.
I’ve seen your jewelry at Shades of Brown. Is that the coffee shop you’re talking about?
So you’re bilingual?
I learned Spanish there, in Mexico. I went by myself first to a tiny little town called Castro….with dirt streets and noone there who speaks English. I just made myself learn….
What inspired your tattoo? (she has a large tattoo on her arm)
I love birds. I thought maybe that I was going to be an ornithologist so I did different internships in Portugal and at the Sutton Avian Research Center and decided I didn’t really want to be a scientist but I still love birds. A quote from their website: “I traveled through Switzerland and Italy on my way to Portugal where I studied migratory birds in the small coastal town of Mexilhoeira Grande with scientists from all over Europe. After returning to Oklahoma, I began working at the Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville. It was a thrill to work hands on with all kinds of birds; ravens, flamingoes and bald eagles, but much like the birds I was caring for, I had a drive to search out new horizons and soon traveled south. In Mexico, I made friends with artisans who sold their beautiful jewelry in the streets and marketplaces. They shared techniques, teaching me skills I would use to create my own jewelry. It was invigorating and inspiring to sit with seasoned artists in the open air markets of Mexico and sell my first pieces of jewelry. I continued my way south to Guatemala to volunteer with an organization called Maya Pedal, where I first learned the art of welding. Visiting the beautiful Lago de Atitlan, I met amazing South American silversmiths selling jewelry. A flame ignited within me and when I eventually returned home to Tulsa, I enrolled in a silversmithing class and I’ve never been without a torch and some metal since. “
Do you ever incorporate them into your jewelry?
I do! I actually have a show at the TAC Gallery and it’s all bird pieces. (Brady Street between Tavern and the Record Shop.)
Are you at all of the First Friday Art Crawls?
I’m familiar with what a silversmith is….are you one?
Yes, I am. That’s the technical term. I also like to say I’m a metalsmith because I do like to work with other metals. (copper, etc) And I do sculptural pieces as well like yard pieces done in steel or copper. Silver is my main medium but I like bringing other tones into it.
Tulsa has such a great community of local artists! It seems like wherever you go, they support local art, lately. The domino effect of that is so exciting!
Yeah, it really is.
Do you have a long term goal or have you reached it?
I definitely have a long term goal. The goal for me is to be able to travel with my kids and spend a few months outside of Oklahoma but come back here. Ideally, I’d be making custom one of a kind pieces of jewelry for people.
What’s the most rustic trip you ever did…either for jewelry or in general?
We usually try to incorporate a show with some kind of other thing ….so we went out to Flagstaff and did an art show there and did some volunteer work up on the Navajo reservation for a few weeks. Out there, there was no running water, no electricity, and we were helping a Navajo elderly couple who didn’t speak English. (only Navajo) We helped herd their sheep with them, haul water, cook food….they’re in their eighties now.
Do you still keep in touch?
Yes, we do! We try to go out there every year.
Do you have to keep in touch by being there since you can’t communicate in the same language?
I send them letters and their grandkids can translate when they visit them on the weekends. We have an awesome relationship with them. It’s very sweet.
Is your studio a store that is open for customers to come to and shop? What is your price range?
For two months, we’ve had open hours. Tues-Friday, 12-4 pm. but I’m here all the time so I tell people to just give me a call. My price range is $50 to $1,000.
Do you have a favorite city you’ve visited?
There’s a little island in Mexico called Holbox.…it’s not very well known but you can go on boat tours to see whales. It’s very laid back, not touristy. The tourists who go there are Mexican. I loved it there.
How are you tied into Mexico? Do you have a connection?
I just figured they’re our neighbor and I should be friendly with them and learn to speak Spanish because there’s many Hispanics here.
Will your kids learn to speak Spanish?
Yes, we speak to them some in Spanish and it’s our goal to return there with them or a Latin American country.
Was your husband, Seth, a silversmith when you met?
No. He’s always been an artist making some form of art. I traveled alone in Mexico, so did he and then we traveled there together for awhile. At that time, he was playing music and I was making jewelry. He got little gigs to play music and I’d go sell jewelry. Eventually, when this became more of our staple job, he ended up coming to make jewelry and got really into it. (On their website, it says, “Seth’s art is focused on connecting our designed environment to the inspiration of Nature.”)
Is it ever hard for you all to “turn off” your craft? Are you able to shut down or are you so engrossed in it?
It’s pretty hard to shut down. Sometimes, it affects me a lot how much I’m thinking about it….how much energy I’m giving it, even just lying in bed at night. With kids, it’s been good to have a separate studio because for a long time, we studioed out of our home. When our kids were younger, it was good because of nursing or them needing me a lot more. But once my daughter was two years old, I needed more of a separation. When you’re making a living from your art, you’re wearing more of an entrepreneurial hat and your creative hat. That’s been a struggle to find that balance.
Do you have an entrepreneurial mentor?
I do have one but I’m looking for someone with different perspective…..
Have you been inspired by any particular artists or mostly the Mexican culture?
Mostly the Mexican culture. I’m definitely inspired by female artists–not necessarily female metalsmiths but any artists out there making their art because they are out there doing what they love.
Click on this video from their website to learn more about their family and business…..
I was able to watch some of her jewelry making process with these authentic silversmithing tools which were fascinating. I was so enriched to discover the inspiration that goes into the artistry, the natural connection and the gypsy spirit which continues to inspire this collection. It makes wearing my pieces from them even more meaningful. The fact that they are so unique and have custom pieces make them perfect for gifts!
Available at the following Tulsa stores:
- Dillon Rose studio 1229 Charles Page Blvd.
- Philbrook Museum Gift Shop 2727 S. Rockford
- This Land 1208 S. Peoria
- Spexton Boxyard 502 E. 3rd Street
- First Friday Art Crawls