A nice handcrafted piece of jewelry can be hard to come by. You might spend hours browsing the web for new gems to add to your collection. But before you click “Confirm Order,” try visiting one of these local self-taught artisans who make trinkets for people with various artistic tastes.
At Amplified Productions, owner Ayla Pratte gives leather accessories a modern twist. Drawing inspiration from geometric style and simplistic shapes, Pratte uses a variety of leathers to create items such as statement necklaces, body chains, gauges and even men’s cuffs.
“The leather itself is the main draw just because it’s already a bi-product,” Pratte says. “There’s so much variety in the colors and in the finish on the leathers that I have endless possibilities with it, and I’m still working in the same medium. It’s also so durable.”
Pratte’s most popular item is her suede stud earrings, which are sterling silver, gold-plated and come in a variety of whimsical colors and finishes. She often makes these in batches because they sell easily, but a majority of her work involves custom creations. Pratte says she enjoys taking peoples’ requests and learning something new with each prototype.
Pratte says her specialty lies in the way she cuts the leather. She also doesn’t finish the leather, and she has researched the best way to cut and pattern it so that it hangs on the body just right.
“Other people definitely work with leather,” Pratte says. “But I just had a different idea in mind when I started, and I think I’m really starting to get the hang of how to convey that aesthetic and get people to see my vision, which is so rewarding."
Pratte’s designs can be purchased at Barred Owl Butcher & Table and Muse Clothing, but she says the easiest way to snag a piece is by contacting her on Instagram.
Fat stack of AMPLIFICATION......Do you want a bracelet with a butterfly on it? Done! How about a bracelet with turquoise and your name? Done! Leather bracelet with custom hand stamped numbers meaningful to you on the clasp? Done! Help me help you! 💎⚒🖤 Price varies so just ask and I’ll let you know all about it! #amplifiedproductions #modernleatherjewelry #leatherbracelet #custom #customjewelry #turquoise #turquoisejewelry #butterfly #butterflybracelet #name #local #localbusiness #shoplocal
Precious stones take on a rustic look in Darksmith Studio’s dreamy designs. Danni Turner, a silversmith and owner of Darksmith Studio, handcrafts every piece of jewelry in her home studio. Turner makes custom pieces, and though she focuses mainly on rings, she also dabbles in earrings and cuffs.
“I mainly am doing a lot more customs lately,” Turner says. “I kind of go off of what the person wants with my own little darker twist on it.”
Turner says that even though she works with sterling silver, she likes to add a personal, edgy finish to all of her pieces. “The pieces that I like to make are geometrical-looking,” Turner says. “I kind of like to make pieces that remind you of armor and geometry.”
Turner finds most of her one-of-a kind turquoise stones from people she follows on Instagram who mine distinctive pieces in the U.S., but she also gets stones from the occasional gem and mineral shows that stop through Columbia. Turner says that a piece can take anywhere from six hours to a day, depending on what a customer wants.
Turner is working on placing some merchandise in Maude Vintage, but for the time being, you can find her creations on Instagram.
Lauren Hughes’ rebellious aesthetic combined with her background in product development makes up the ever-sassy Pintagram Co. — Hughes’ one-woman lapel pin and patch company.
“I’m into the kind of witchy, fun, little bit off-the-grid kind of market,” Hughes says.
Including a rose-donned coffin that reads, “Let me Sleep,” and a tempting-looking pizza patch that states, “The power of crust compels you,” Hughes’ clever pins and patches are a subtle yet playful way to spice up any ensemble. Hughes’ pins and patches can be found at Muse Clothing or on her website.
“I’ve kind of learned to not hop on to the trends that aren’t gonna be there for very long,” Hughes says. “A lot of people make pins about memes, and they’ll get so many of them that they have to sell them at a discount price. So if I can just do my own original thing that’s just kind of spooky or funny or punny, then that’s always going to be in style.”
Hughes says that inspiration for her designs can be completely random. Such was the case for her “Hellcat” pin, which she thought up when she heard a song by the same name on a Pandora station one day. Aside from these serendipitous ideas, Hughes grew up around a family that rode motorcycles, and she says it was this leather-clad, edgy style that inspired her pin and patch endeavors. She says she enjoys seeing the creative ways that customers wear her pins, such as on an old pair of converse or purses. When asked what her favorite way to rock her pins is, however, Hughes’ childhood sentimentality stills shines through. “Oh, leather jacket all the way,” she says.
Strung by Stroh
Possibilities abound with Baylen Stroh’s shimmering treasures. Strung by Stroh offers a variety of gold, rose gold and silver necklaces and earrings that can be combined to complement all tastes. Stroh says that her younger sister, Sumner, is her muse for most of her work. This explains why she favors dainty foundations contrasted with bold focal points.
“She just has this unique sense of style,” Stroh says. “It’s so feminine but masculine at the same time — just a strong presence.”
The draping lariat necklaces combine seamlessly with her standout chokers for a fresh layered look. Stroh says the pieces are dainty enough to wear as an everyday look, but if you layer them, they can transition into a nighttime statement.
“I like to layer a lot of pieces, and I also like to layer different metals,” Stroh says about combining her pieces. “I don’t think that just because you wear a gold necklace, everything else has to be gold.”
The impact of Stroh’s starry pieces reaches beyond accessorizing; she says she wants to use her jewelry to give back. Right now, 15 percent of the proceeds from her Cherry Necklace, a simple gold chain with a flashy cherry pendant, go to the Rainbow House in Columbia. Stroh also says that she is currently collaborating with her mother to create a necklace in honor of her aunt, who passed away from mesothelioma. Stroh says that a percentage of the profit, yet to be determined, will go toward funding mesothelioma research.
You can find Stroh’s jewelry at The Bridge inside MU’s Student Center until the end of the semester or online.