Teresa Conely of Stone Fruit Silver is our first featured female maker. Teresa make beautiful jewelry using natural stones and sterling silver. I asked Teresa a few questions to learn more about her and her passion for jewelry making.
How did you get into your craft or hobby?
My jewelry journey started at a very young age and is credited to my parental grandmother. She would buy all different types of beads for us and we would push them around for hours together, coming up with different combinations and patterns. This is around the same time my obsession with gemstones started to blossom. I would search patches of gravel every day after school looking for crystals. At one point I even took a hammer to a neighbor's retaining wall because I spotted a few veins of quartz in the large boulders. I got in a lot of trouble for that one. While beading lost my interest in my teenage years I directed my attention to buying jewelry and had a ring on each finger throughout high school.
I started beading with my grandmother at a very young age. I used to make earrings for the other girls in the neighborhood. I lost interest in my teenage years and then picked back up in my mid twenties.
In my late twenties someone who was very important to me was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer. There were benefits being put together and I wanted to be able to donate. I bought a handful of beads and some copper wire and went to town making some of the ugliest rings, but that was the second wind. A few years later I was enrolling myself in metalsmithing classes and buying one of a kind gemstones left and right.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
So far it has been successfully working with the smallest bit of gold. It's so expensive and nerve wracking but the results are worth it!
Who has been your biggest mentor or role model?
Julia Harrison. She runs the jewelry studio at Pratt in Seattle, and has been a huge support both as a friend and as an excellent manager of the metal department.
What advice do you have for other female makers?
To collaborate and build a community together. Put yourself out there to meet and support each other. Avoid unhealthy competition and drama, it will alienate you and hurt your business.
What is the most frustrating thing about your industry or line of work?
Right now for me it's pricing. I need to charge enough to cover the cost of my materials plus tools and equipment, as well as pay myself an hourly wage and account for fees and taxes. This means that my pieces cost more than what can be picked up at a store that sells production work. Trying to navigate this can be daunting.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
How do you "treat yo self?'
I just buy more rocks. I justify it with the fact that they're for my business, but really I just love getting new ones in, staring at them, pushing them around in little designs, etc.
Share an embarrassing moment
I was working at an Irish bar around Halloween time when I told two priests that I liked their costumes...
To see more of Teresa’s beautiful work visit her shop.