Design Curator: Sultana Maria Jewelry

Every month I’ve brought different design concepts to the table. This month is a real life example of one design element we’ve already discussed: uniqueness. Sultana Aschim is a local jewelry designer and metal smith whose work embodies a unique design that is quite her own. Sultana uses lots of feathers, which is not a unique concept, but have you ever seen a feather with bullet shells?  Sultana is able to take something that isn’t unique and repackage it into something very unique; giving feather-wearers a new look.

I was able to to interview Sultana before the holiday weekend:

  • How would you describe your jewelry designs?

I would describe my designs as organic and bold. I use natural objects and found pieces in my work.  It is eco-friendly and original. Each piece is handmade by myself with objects I have gathered from my daily travels.

  • What is your inspiration for your designs?

I am inspired by my found objects. I have been collecting small inanimate objects my whole life in glass jars (I have so  many it’s really ridiculous.)  My parents are antique dealers and since I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to incorporate my collection into my work– from  vintage jewelry, small objects, recycled bullet casings, my rock collection, and anything else I’ve picked up that I felt had a unique design to it.

  • Do use any techniques?

I was trained as a Metalsmith/Silversmith in college when I received my BFA in Metals and Jewelry from Arcadia University.  Since then, I’ve developed my charm and chain line for Sultana Maria Jewelry, and I still use some of the techniques that I learned in college (ex: drilling, forming, cleaning up pieces with my dremel, oxidizing metals with patinas, and more).

  • Is there a specific kind of aesthetic you are going for?

Yes. I am not a dainty girly girl at all…. I do love my dresses and tall heels, but I love the grungy vibe (tattoos, abstract designs, city life.)  All the chain I use is oxidized (darkened to give my line a more organic feel.) I’m a rocker girl; I like loud music and I feel that my boho, gypsy rocker soul has adopted my jewelry collection.

  • How do you find inspiration for developing new design ideas?

I get my inspiration from the objects I find.  Right now most of my jewelry is made from rocks, feathers, and recycled bullet shells that I gather at indoor shooting ranges. I’m always wandering antique and flea markets to pick up new pieces to recreate in my work.

  • So far on my monthly posts I’ve talked about 3 different aspects or categories of design: simplicity, timelessness, and uniqueness. What aspect or category of design would you place yourself in?

I would definitely put my jewelry in the category of being unique.  I keep my work trendy and current with the style, but am always doing my own twist on it to keep in different from anything anyone has seen.  I’m definitely not a simple person 🙂

{Elizabeth Wann} Designer & Writer

Spring Flowering

Just a wee bit of color pushing through the wintry landscape…perhaps a tinge of gold at peel of a birch, a glimmer of purple-hued crocus sparkling on the forest floor, dewy moss casting a brilliant green to the edge of a creek, or the whisper of a snow drop petal’s sweet welcome. All of these things bring a feeling of renewal, revitalization, and quiet awakening as we emerge from our wintry dens to feel the balmy new breezes of springtime. In perusing the artistic coffers of Philadelphia artisans, I found the following gold-tinged blossoming gems. That delicate eruption of color from the milky whites and frothy cream is enough to remind me that warmth is nigh, even if I still have to pull my hood up over my head for a few more weeks.

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These absolutely stunning fairy wings are the exquisite, careful work of Rebecca Dixon, proprietor of etsy shop, Up from the Ashes I just hope that one day I can become the owner of one of these accessories to fantasy delight!

Grace Christie's lovely 'Rain' earrings

Grace Christie's lovely 'Rain' earrings

No one can deny the striking beauty of Grace Christie’s bejeweled creations. Like the afternoon sunlight filtering through a light spring drizzle, these earrings sparkle with a many hued light. You can find Grace Christie at her etsy site of the same name.

Sew Fragrant's Little Birdie

Sew Fragrant's Little Birdie

A delightful touch of whimsy for the Easter Basket, the Baby Shower, or any other event that delivers – in hushed tones, perhaps – spring growth, new growth, little birdie growth and happily, the arrival of little ones. Philly artisan, Patti, gives us all the chance to offer such sweet gifts at her shop Sew Fragrant.

SayHiBeth's adorable vintage magnets

SayHiBeth's adorable vintage magnets

What says ‘spring’ more than the hurry of little girls to begin skipping rope outside. I might not be little, but it seems pretty appealing to me! And I will say that for the two and a half year olds like my daughter, nothing is more appealing than getting out of doors at long last. And for such joyous weather! Say Hi Beth’s etsy shop is full of all kinds of wonderful vintage magnet sets. It won’t be long before some of these adorn my own fridge.

Harvest Sky Ring

Harvest Sky Ring

I know, I know, the name of this ring is “Harvest Sky” but who can mistake that clear blue of springtime, the golden branches merely a hold over from winter bareness, their silhouettes bathed in the hazy light following a light shower? Well, I can pretend. Isn’t that the glory of art? We see what we want to see. My stepmother already wears one of Dierdre Ryan’s photo rings, and many more can be found at her etsy shop, blackbird72.

Jen McCleary's picture postcard

Jen McCleary's picture postcard

For someone who delights in collage, Jen McCleary seems to have no end to the creative expanses of her imagination. Her artwork jewelry pieces are completely original and beautiful to behold, especially in person. And what’s this? Wonderful postcard prints of her collaged art pieces. And for a dollar? Astounding. Sign me up! And you, too, dear reader, should visit her shop for more. Find her at etsy under the name JenMcCleary

New springtime creations are all around us! Look for us locally area events, including the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and the Fishtown Shad Fest for new, interesting, and endlessly creative creations.

Lilith's Apothecary glycerin soaps

Lilith's Apothecary glycerin soaps

Sarah Powell, is a medical anthropologist, herbalist, crafter, and the sole proprietor of the natural bath, body & herbal tea business, Lilith’s Apothecary.