Designer Q&A: Sydney Lynch
Some of the most interesting jewelry pieces we carry in our store come from the designer Sydney Lynch. We love the thought she puts into her designs and her finished pieces are always amazing. We got a chance to catch up with her and let you in on some of her jewelry background and what makes her designs special.
How did you get started in the jewelry industry?
I earned my BFA from the University of Colorado in 1973. I took some jewelry classes in college and loved the process of transforming raw materials into a beautiful finished object. Boulder in the ’70’s was one of the epicenters of hippie culture, which led me to realize I didn’t want a conventional job or career. I knew a couple of silversmiths who lived in cabins in the mountains, and they added to my growing knowledge of basic metalsmithing.
In the early ’80’s I moved to Nebraska because of a boyfriend. I never intended to stay here, but life kept happening and here I still am! In Nebraska I met another woman from the east coast (I grew up in Connecticut) who was a ceramic artist and told me about the American Craft Council shows. I started selling my jewelry both wholesale and retail through the ACC shows, and have always approached the jewelry world from a fine arts and crafts direction. Since 2010 when I began exploring a wider market through the trade shows in Las Vegas, I’ve discovered quite a few more traditional jewelry stores who were interested in introducing their clients to more unique jewelry designs.
Tell us about your jewelry designs and what makes them unique.
I work in mixed metals combining silver and high-karat gold. For quite awhile now I mostly use oxidized (blackened) silver because I love the way the rich, gray-black patina contrasts with the gold and also with the wide range of colored gemstones I include in my one-of-a-kind designs. My jewelry has a bit of a raw, organic quality which makes for an interesting look when expressed in precious materials. As someone described my work to me, it’s ” Mad Max meets Nature!”
I seek out unique stones which are often one-of-a-kind. While I do include some little accents of faceted diamonds and colored gems, I generally am more interested in the unique character of a specific stone than in its value as a status symbol. My jewelry is bold and contemporary but very wearable. It’s for women who have the confidence to create their own look, who want to express themselves in a very personal, individual way.
It sounds hackneyed, but my inspiration is in nature and in the world around me. I take photographs everywhere I go, whether I’m traveling to a new country or city, or in my back yard in Lincoln. I have an enormous repository of images which reflect colors, textures, shapes and lines than inform my jewelry designs. And who could ever get tired of nature? It changes all the time, there’s always something new to surprise me.
What’s your favorite part about designing jewelry?
Sometimes people will tell me that “it must be so much fun to go out and spend your days in the studio making beautiful things.” I love what I do, but designing and making is hard: it’s risky, challenging, frustrating, scary. It’s also rewarding and satisfying. A beautiful, finished piece can put a smile on my face and provide a sense of accomplishment. I work with two long-time assistants and my husband, Craig, who handles all of the paperwork and bookkeeping. Every piece of jewelry has my name on it, but my studio operates as a team. I’m very grateful to them – and yes, we do have a lot of fun at work!
Besides the process of making jewelry, my favorite thing is seeing how people connect to my work. The intuitive response to a unique piece of jewelry is a form of communication. What goes into an artist-designed, handmade piece of jewelry is very personal, and the other side of the equation is when a new person comes along and feels an instantaneous connection, usually in a nonverbal way.
Acquiring jewelry may be as a gift commemorating a life event, or simply rewarding oneself with something symbolizing your own self-worth. A piece of handmade jewelry possesses its own character and history. Life is all about relationships, and I enjoy meeting my customers and also getting to know the people who own the stores that carry my work.