Designing Wearable Works of Art
By Tina Morris
As children, we all have a passion for something, but it isnt often that our childhood interests become our adulthood careers. For Sue Shefts, that is exactly what happened.
Sue Shefts grew up on Long Island, and was raised by parents who nurtured her creativity. Her mother took her to the ballet and encouraged art, culture, and an appreciation of high quality design. Her father was an artist who, along with his brothers, owned a nationally renowned carved glass business. Sue had a love for jewelry at an early age. She began to trade beads with her friends as a child. Not allowed to get her ears pierced until she turned sixteen, Sue designed and created her own clip-on earrings.
By the time she was in college at Tufts University in Boston, Sue was designing and selling jewelry to others. After graduating college, Sue returned to New York City and completed the management training program at Macys and eventually became an assistant jewelry buyer for them. This experience provided critical skills for her future.
After getting married, Sue and her husband, Andrew, decided to embark on a six-month, cross-country road trip. Along the way, Sue was able to make connections and began selling her jewelry to gift shops and boutiques. Upon their return, Sue began designing and selling her jewelry full time. In 1995, Andrew accepted a job in Georgia, and the couple now resides in Johns Creek.
Sue is a self-described treasure hunter. She collects interesting, beautiful beads from all over the world, with a few artisans that she buys from regularly. She loves sparkle, especially the precise cut of vintage Swarovski crystal and fine, vintage crystal settings.
Sues jewelry is unique and eye-catching, as she creates many one-of-a-kind, miniature works of art. Some pieces are full of texture and color; others show a simple elegance. Her favorite materials are eclectic: vintage Miriam Haskell glass pearls, vintage watch chain, and unique artisan lampwork beads.
When it comes to her creative process, Sue admits that her desk is always full of materials. She may be working on one piece, and a bead will catch her eye and inspire something new. She gets excited by color and likes to work with art dcor glass and high-quality crystals as well as detailed Victorian pieces. Sue is always open to inspiration from various sources including movies, certain time periods, and even a trip she took with her family to Russia.
She enjoys making long necklaces because there are more design possibilities, and they do not disappoint. But even her smaller pieces are full of color and charm. Her designs are one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art.
Sues advice to other artists? Just keep working at it, even if youre not in the mood. Take classes. Talk to people. Go to museums. Be a sponge, and take in everything around you.
To view Sues work or her show schedule, visit SueShefts.com.