For jewelrymaker Susan Goodwin, crafting pieces is about recognizing what the material has to offer.
For jewelrymaker Susan Goodwin, crafting pieces is about recognizing what the material has to offer. “Organic materials and stones such as pearls have a little soul in them,” she says. “It’s my job to give that little soul a framework to shine in.”
Goodwin, a Pacific Northwest native, who’s lived all over the region and who’s currently based in Seattle, came to jewelry making almost by accident. “In 1980, I helped a friend move who had a bunch of ancient trade beads and wire, and I got cold chills the minute I looked at them,” she says. “I was so driven to start working with beads.”
Goodwin began selling her jewelry at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and at regional markets and fairs before selling directly to stores. “When I started, the 1980s were a perfect petrie dish for experimenting with color, form and tension,” she says. “People bought what I made, and it encouraged me to keep going.”
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She makes her jewelry in a 600-square-foot studio that is furnished with antique Indonesian drawers that are chock-full of beading supplies. “I work with a lot of bead dealers in India,” she says. “I have a lot of my beads custom cut, but I also use what they have available.”
The two-inch earrings are made with oxidized silver, pearls and faceted rock crystal to give them a graphic and three-dimensional look. They are part of a collection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces called Pools of Light, which 19th century Victorian culture inspired. “The idea came from a Victorian trend in the late 1800s,” says Goodwin. “The Victorians were into metaphysics, and they loved crystal balls. It was very popular to have a crystal ball necklace, and when you wear a crystal ball necklace the light reflects onto your skin and leaves these pools of light.” The pieces in the Pools of Light collection range from $60 to $300.
Contact jewelrymaker Susan Goodwin via her website at susangoodwinjewelry.com. Her jewelry is also available at Dazzle (704 N.W. 23rd Ave., 503-224-1294) and Coco Goes Shopping (7007 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-236-7777) in Portland and at Twiggs (305 Oak St., 541-386-6188) in Hood River, Ore.