Tailor made: jewellery and art by Rachael Sudlow
Kansas born Rachael Sudlow has put some ripples in the water of popular site Etsy, handmaking and selling some truly unique jewellery. Having studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design with a minor in jewellery, she started making and selling her work full-time in 2006.
When one hand-makes over 13,000 orders in the space of seven years, it becomes a challenge to pick out favourite pieces, but the public’s reaction to her set of maps has be extraordinary. “They can be customised to order and I really love how that makes the recipient connect with their jewellery. There’s really nothing better than having something specially made for you.” In terms of practice, Sudlow has been perfecting her techniques using jewellery saws, casting and laser cutting steadily throughout her life. “I took art classes as a young child and have always been making things. When I was about 12, I started playing with metal and I’ve never stopped learning.”
One element of Sudlow’s work that’s the backbone of her company is her customised work. “Sentimental pieces really work well for families or couples and I love doing them.” She’s reworked her designs with wedding dates, birthstones, addresses, messages, names and plenty more, keeping close contact with the customer to ensure their satisfaction. The internet, Etsy especially, has spread Sudlow’s talent across the world which inevitably has its pros and cons. “I love interacting with customers and working together to make something personalised. It’s a shame I can never see the look on their faces when they receive it though.”
“Often inspiration for certain designs from customers themselves.” As Sudlow has developed her brand, she’s always tried out new techniques, dabbled with new designs and she seems to have come to embrace her own personality coming out in her work.“I love to have whimsical, nature inspired pieces and I have literally picked plants, veggies and flowers in my garden and cast them into my jewellery.”
With help only from her accountant husband, Sudlow runs all aspects of the business almost entirely alone and this has been no mean feat, considering she has had some of her work splashed across the pages of Food Network Magazine, Pregnancy Magazine and The Peruvian Connection, as well as being named Etsy’s Featured Artist in 2007. “I’m currently one of Uncommon Good‘s featured artists and am regularly in their catalogue. It’s very exciting to get into the print world where so many people can get a chance to see my work.”
Uncomplicated and modern designs that are very wearable and durable sum up her pieces in a nutshell, and while her main plans for the future are to continue building and expanding her brand, we can certainly expect great things from this true artist.