Artist Jamie Smith creates beautiful handmade jewelry from all reclaimed materials.
I headed out to the Summer Indie Craft Experience on June 8th and 9th here in Atlanta to scope out the green crafty scene there. There were quite a few crafters using upcycled, organic, and other eco-friendly materials, and I’m profiling some of my favorites here on the site.
I was lucky enough to chat with Jamie Smith about her handmade jewelry and was struck not just by how lovely her work is but how she collects her materials. Some of her components are salvaged, but she also teams up with another jeweler to collect and use what would otherwise just be waste. She gets into a little bit more detail about that below!
CAGW: How did you get started crafting?
JS: I have been crafting since I was allowed to use scissors. When I was 5, I made a little rocking chair out of the backs of greeting cards and tape. I have always thought of it as my first sculpture. I have a degree in Fine Arts with a focus in metals and sculpture, so I used to make a lot of large pieces in college. However, when I graduated my work became scaled down and made to be more practical.
CAGW: What draws you to eco-friendly materials? Can you tell me a little bit about where you source your materials? I remember that you had some interesting stories and mentioned partnering with another crafter to use her leftovers.
JS: I am a gatherer my nature. I am always looking at the ground and picking up things that catch my eye. When I travel, I like to take with me parts of the place, rather than a bought plastic something from some cheesy souvenir shop. Rocks, shells, sticks and bits of “trash” hold more of a story of the place for me. On one of my necklaces there is a rusty bolt that I picked up in the parking lot of Disney World, for example.
The agate stones that I use are from a woman who sells whole agate slices and I buy the broken pieces from her that she can not use.
I also have used specific items that people have given me to put into a necklace for them. I had a customer that had a piece of indian pottery that she had found years ago. She said she had just been carrying it around, always trying to figure out something cool to do with it. I was able to set it and turn it into a necklace for her to wear.
CAGW: Tell me something about yourself that’s not in your standard bio.
JS: I have no clue how sew and I would really like to know how. This does not mean that no one has ever tried to teach me, the skills just will not stick with me. My mother used to make all her clothes when she was younger and I just think that is really cool. She also made a lot of my clothes when I was little. She has showed me how to sew many times and I just can not get a hold of it. So sewing is one of my side projects that I want to conquer.
(my mother made my outfit and hers in the picture)
CAGW: Where can folks find your work?
JS: Right now I only have the Etsy shop, because this jewelry venture is rather new. I am working on a website. I am thinking of doing some blogging to promote and let people get to know me and my process a bit more. I am interested in getting some of my jewelry in some local shops around town.