"Curiosity and respect for the natural world is integral to my designs..."
- Theresa Applegate
MEET THE ARTIST
@theresaapplegatejewelry on Instagram
Meet jewelry artist Theresa Applegate, based in New Albany, Indiana. It has been 18 years since she took her first metalsmithing class, and you can see her creations on Instagram @theresaapplegatejewelry
THE JOURNEY TO CREATING JEWELRY
This is how her journey began. "Beads were my gateway drug. I toted around a Tupperware full of seed beads, wire, and pliers in grade school," Theresa shared. In addition to this, she also loved making rings and selling them for 10 cents. "I’m not sure if I ever sold any actually… I still love making rings though," she recalled.
Theresa earned a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design in 2006. Her first metals class was in 2002, "which is when the struggle began 🤣" she said.
Getting a degree from SCAD really forced her to work through design and technical challenges, as well as eloping her artist voice emerge. "It’s an evolution. I think that’s the hardest part for me now… feeling authentic."
Other than the obvious, we asked if what made Theresa decide to use her name as her Instagram handle for her creations. She mentioned that in the early COVID days, she was having a lot of anxiety. She was struggling in a lot of personal ways and she wanted to reinvest herself in her jewelry business that she referred to as something that had been seriously on the back burner.
With that, Theresa messaged Nicole Ringgold because she had just done a seminar about transitioning to selling your work online instead of brick and mortar. Nicole sent her a link to the seminar and she listened to it at least four times.
"I wrote down questions. I had been on the fence about a couple different “brand names” so I emailed Nicole to get her opinion. She didn’t give me an answer, rather, she asked me some more questions. I chose to use my name, Theresa Applegate Jewelry, because it’s important for me to be identified as the artist. It’s a one woman show over here!"
Check out some of Theresa's amazing creations!
Handmade Turquoise Jewelry by Theresa Applegate of @theresaapplegatejewelry on Instagram
ARTIST'S DESIGN STYLE
We asked if Theresa remembers her first AHA moment related to jewelry-making. She said, "I rarely have a frenzied streak of genius. A lot of my designs are repetitive; each iteration evolving from the previous." She explained that usually, she's just really excited about the next thing she's making. "And on, and on forever."
Here are a few more gorgeous jewelry pieces by Theresa!
Genuine Turquoise Jewelry by Theresa Applegate of @theresaapplegatejewelry on Instagram
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Theresa shared that sometimes she sketches, sometimes she starts with a stone, sometimes she starts with a found object. "My design process is not linear. It’s very messy," she explained.
"Curiosity and respect for the natural world is integral to my designs," Often, Theresa would incorporate found objects and textures. "Bones, teeth, insects, botanicals, and gemstones are combined in my jewelry collections."
JEWELRY DESIGN TIPS, TRICKS, AND HANDY TECHNIQUES
What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists?
"A design tip that I need to remember for myself is to just take better notes! Writing down a measurement, date, troubleshooting outcomes, FREAKING CUSTOMERS RING SIZES, etc… instead of relying on my memory would be the best thing I could do for my design process."
Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?
"Practice makes better? Lucy Walker wrote that the other day. Gosh I don’t have anything profound to say here. I guess consistency, kindness to yourself when you’re learning, and don’t half-ass anything. Whatever you do, use your full ass."
Lastly, her message to the universe:
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theresaapplegatejewelry/
Check out her website: https://www.theresaapplegate.com/