JEWELRY ARTIST + DESIGNER + EXPLORER
As an artist, I have walked a long and interesting journey to develop my unique expression in adornment and I learned that a piece of jewelry is more than just a beautiful accessory and more than the sum of its parts. Jewelry is an artform containing personal and powerful symbolism. These concepts informed my new jewelry line: Jewels of the Nomad.
Jewelry throughout history has been used and built for storytelling, dance, documentation and self-expression. Jewelry has even been created to function as the rhythm section in music and dance performances. It contributes to the percussion with every shake, flow and swirl of the wrists, hips and arms.
My current line is brimming with this energy. My work embodies light, love and joy through specific combinations of symbols, gems and unusual objects. These talismanic pieces are created by using ancient metalworking techniques, rituals, and extensive cultural and historical references.
This wearable line of jewelry is inspired by the concepts and components from my large powerful ceremonial pieces created to be hung on the wall when not being worn. The smaller pieces such as earrings, bracelets, charms and pendants carry the power from the original ceremonial piece abundant with charms, talismans, amulets and prayer boxes.
Through my journey, I learned that the root of ancient adornment is storytelling. People around the world used specific symbolism to showcase the colors in their environment, the food they hoped to catch, or even the evil spirits they wanted to repel. Adornment became a visual history that tells a holistic story of individual culture. It is used to record wars, love, marriages, births and more. Folk tales, music and dance directly influence the shapes of jewelry. While traveling, I witnessed beautiful cultural dances incorporating costumes with layers of jewelry moving and chiming in percussion.
In the study of adornment, I see a common thread of symbolism. I collect magical pieces of metal, stone, and semi-precious gems. They contain marks, icons and symbolism to protect from evil and or to bring, to the wearer, abundance, love, and prosperity. What fascinated me most were magical jewelry pieces called talismans, amulets and prayer boxes. Talismans spread their magic by visually representing a word or an object that makes you feel a particular emotion or vibration.
For me, building jewelry is a conscious and creative effort to be intentional in my art. Every element in a piece is an important part of the whole. Every altered object has an energetic vibration. In the process of wrapping string and fiber into my work, I embed energy and prayers for the positive of the world and the wearer. My body of work is charged with magic and will be worn to feel beautiful and confident and protected. Wearing my work, I encourage you to be authentic in your expression of your full self.
- Built a high end handmade commercial line of silver jewelry which was carried by many larger stores such as Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, and Banana Republic.
- Pieces worn on the runway in New York Fashion Week, Miami Swim Week and Milan Jewelry Week.
- Published in the pages of Elle and Vogue magazine.
- Won a special mention award at Milan Jewelry Week in 2019.
- Built full bodies of work that went on museum tours, American Craft Council and galleries including Smithsonian, Renwick and the Art Institute of New York.
- Taught international workshops where students explore, collect and build jewelry inspired by cultures in places like Indonesia, Australia, France, Morocco and India.
- Built an incredibly successful commercial line of charms and talismans jewelry components for Michael’s Craft Stores called Industrial Chic.
- Developed and brought to market a successful art product called Ice Resin that sold internationally through distributors and large craft stores which was an Amazon best selling product.
- Wrote an Amazon Best Selling Book in 2013 called Alchemy of Resin which was a 10-year body of work based on the Ice Resin product.
- Built a product that was an Amazon best seller.
- Won an international award for most Innovative use of the medium, Doctor Robert Lui, Ornament Magazine.
- Wrote a book on my collected knowledge on connecting, attaching and using cold joins called Making Connections.
- Wrote a book on my collected knowledge of building jewelry with soldering techniques called, Intentional Metalsmithing
- Created a Nomadic Metalsmithing tool kit perfect for students who travel or have small spaces.
- Created Intentional Metalsmithing to teach six of the main techniques I use to build my work.
- Won a Top 20 influencers award by Interweave for my work in my industry over the past 20 years.
“Cultural exploration, simplicity and a narrative about real life are at the base of her work. Susan grew up in the industrial city of Chicago and studied at the Art Institute in the city. Her pieces are raw and authentic and emulate this industrial vibration combined with spiritualism.”
– Collection Pan Arab 2019