Merritt Gade Fine Handmades
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Give a brief product description.
Unique, semi-precious handmade jewelry and bridal accessories
How did you get started?
I was never an artist growing up, but my love of rocks and gems sent me to college to study geology. During a particularly difficult semester, my mom suggested taking a jewelry class for some fun with a different side of stones and I fell in love. A natural with hammers and saws, the fit was instant and I earned a degree in Fine Arts in 1999. I launched my full-time business ten years after graduating and have been enjoying building my collections and learning the ropes of the non-craft end of things since January 2009.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I like to build with metal components, so architecture and nature are major inspirations. Repeat patterns, organic lines, layers of shapes are all part of my creative process. It's important to me that my items feel original and unique, so I spend a good deal of time thinking about what I currently make and how to make it another way.
Describe your workspace/workroom.
I have two work spaces, one in a spare room in my house and one in part of the garage. I spend the majority of my creative time in the inside space, which has a large bay window (great for photos), a huge walk-in closet (perfect storage), and a decent sized floor plan (desk, work bench, and sewing table all fit!). It looks messy a lot of the time, but I know exactly where everything is. I have systems that help it not get too out of control, but find that keeping everything just so doesn't work for me. The walls are an ongoing collage of stuff I love; pictures of family, art work by friends, vintage postcards, odds and ends from shows I've attended or been a part of, and an assortment of trinkets like the wooden tulip my sister got in France and fake flower corsage my other sister made for a party we attended.
What has been your favorite winter holiday gift to make or receive?
I've gotten to work with a couple of different men on gifts for their wives or girlfriends as a surprise. I love that the fellas think of my work as something special and that they really try to find a design that their significant other is going to enjoy wearing. It's fun to be a part of sweet, thoughtful gift giving.
Last year, my sister gave me a tiny, handmade teddy bear with a giant, fluffy head. He's so cute with his little scarf and serious expression. His name is Euri and is my desk mascot.