The festive season is coming, and no gift is classier than a delicate pair of handcrafted earrings packaged in a little brown paper box. Almost every girl loves a unique, versatile jewelry that fits the bill for both dress-down and dress-up days, so look no further than Andrea Watson Designs for gift giving ideas. Andrea Watson O’Dell is a North Carolina-based metalsmith who created Andrea Watson Designs, a small east coast jewelry studio specializing in designing and crafting minimal jewelry that are perfect for everyday wear. The talented metalsmith has come a long way since first crafting jewelry in her university days, transforming an artistic talent into a thriving entrepreneurial business.
Each of AWD’s jewelry collections is crafted in a small batch using traditional metalsmithing techniques and self-sourced materials, and gets sold out really fast on Etsy. The beautiful textures, edgy lines and smooth finish make each jewelry piece unique and endearing to its new owner. Each jewelry often comes in variants to opt for: sterling silver, copper, bronze, brass, gold, etc, which gives customers a lot of space to personalize their orders. We managed to contact Andrea herself to tell us a tale about a metalsmith’s journey:
Hey Andrea! Tell us more about your background and what led you to be a metalsmith?
Well, I had always wanted to be an artist. But it took a long time for me to figure out what that really meant for me. Coming from a small farm town in rural Ohio, I always heard things like, “all artists are starving artists” and other ideas along that line. For most of my college experience, I thought that, for me, being an artist had to be something practical. So I chose to pursue Interior Design at Bowling Green State University. But several years into my major, it became very clear that it was not where I was meant to be. After I finally accepted this realization, I found my way into a Jewelry & Metals course. Two weeks later, I had an unshakeable feeling that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What seemed like a terrible and confusing disaster at the time, turned out to be one of the most important moments in terms of my ability and confidence to pursue my dream of being an artist.
That’s a real relief. As a metalsmith, where do you get your design inspiration from?
You know, for years I believed that my inspiration came from nature. And it certainly did in the early years of AWD. However, once I began working primarily in metal, I realized that there seems to be an endless supply of ideas just constantly floating around in my head. Sure, some of them are influenced now by architecture, fashion, and trends in general, but there’s always something new I can pull from. I have sketchbooks on sketchbooks filled with drawings and things that might one day make it into a new collection in some shape or form.
Describe a typical day’s routine at your home studio.
A typical day… honestly, one of the things I love most about working from home and being a full-time artist is the ability to make every single day look different from the last! After working in a law firm for several years, I learned just how much I love flexibility and change. Which is funny, because I’m not someone who necessarily enjoys change when it comes to most other areas of my life. But day-to-day routines? I’m just grateful to be able to sleep in a little later when I’m tired, work in my pajamas when it’s rainy, take a trip to the beach if I need to get centered, go to a yoga class if I need more energy, plan a coffee date if I haven’t seen someone in a while, etc.
I will say that working from home and having so much flexibility can also be incredibly challenging as well. It’s easy to start sleeping in later and later and to develop bad habits when it comes to working for yourself. But on a good day, I like to get up relatively early, eat breakfast, walk the dog, spend time journaling, and then jump into my work for the day. That’s my ideal morning routine. Some days it doesn’t look like that, and that’s okay. But I always notice that the sooner I sit down at my bench, the better I feel at the end of the day.
AWD was created in 2012. How have your craft and business evolve since then?
Things have definitely changed quite a bit since 2012. Anyone who knew my brand back in those early years might not even recognize the brand now. The funny thing is, I’ve always had a vision of where I was going, but it took a few years of working many jobs and working nights and weekends on my brand, doing what I could with where I was. But those long nights and weekends eventually turned into more and more success, which allowed me to slowly take steps away from my other sources of income.
In terms of how my jewelry has evolved, I would say that with more success came the ability and resources to buy different materials, develop more time-consuming pieces, and dedicate more energy towards marketing and branding. Just this year, I feel like I’ve finally been able to design an entire collection of pieces that really represents my ideal look and the AWD brand. So I’m very excited to continue releasing jewelry that aligns fully with that vision that I first had so many years ago.
What is your personal favourite everyday go-to jewelry from AWD?
The Era Necklace. Ever since I released it last spring, I can’t seem to take it off. I wear it while working, at the beach, during yoga, working on our house, going out for drinks, going to a wedding… you name it! Granted, much of my jewelry can be worn this way (and that’s the way I like it), but this one has to be my absolute favourite thus far.
Pick out the best AWD jewelry candidate to go with each of the following occasions:
An afternoon in a cafe …
The Mini Arc Earrings (the easiest earrings you’ll ever put on)
An intimate birthday gathering …
The Lynx Earrings (the perfect combo of delicate and pretty)
Thanksgiving dinner …
The Cora Ring (a little sparkle as you reach across the table)
The First Date …
The Era Necklace (dress it up or dress it down)
First day of work …
The Minimalist Bar Necklace (my all-time best seller)