My name is Sam Danielson, and I am the designer and maker of SD Marie Jewelry. All the magic happens in my jewelry workshop, which is in the basement of my home in Montrose, Minnesota.
When I discovered Etsy in 2010, I was recently married, living in a new home, and working at a bank. At the time, I was making jewelry for family, friends and myself as an outlet from my unimaginative job. Any creative being knows that if you keep that creativity inside and don’t use it, it can start to destroy you. So I said, why not? I never thought I would be able to reach out to people outside my city, let alone the whole world.
I spend a lot of time sketching, because when I’m feeling creative my ideas spill out rapidly, and I need to get them on paper before I forget. Inspiration comes randomly: while running, listening to music, falling asleep at night, or simply walking down the street. Once I have a nice collection of ideas, I get out my torch and metal and get to work. Sometimes when I have a design in mind, the metal refuses to listen and a whole new idea emerges. All the magic is in the metal. The way it can be transformed into infinite shapes, colors, and textures is inspiration all its own.
I learned the soldering process, as well as the patience and precision needed to make a quality piece of jewelry, at a metal smithing class taught by the insanely talented Kirk Sklar. I gave my first few pieces to family or melted them down into scrap, but one survived. It features a perfect piece of green chrysoprase (my favorite stone). When I wear it, it reminds me of where I’ve been and where I can go when I work hard.
I have always designed jewelry that pleases me, without allowing others’ eyebrow-raising opinions to change the work I present. That said, I really enjoy custom requests because they allow each person to interpret my designs in a different way, and make them their own. Plus, one-of-a-kind pieces are the best!
Running a creative business has made me love life. It’s freeing to take your imagination any place you want, and use your hands to bring those ideas to reality. The fact that others enjoy my work enough to spend their hard-earned money on it is humbling. Thank you to all those who have supported me and given me a great gift: allowing me to be a jeweler.
All photographs by SD Marie Jewelry.