Hello! My name is Stefanie, and I design and fabricate jewelry from sterling silver, gold, brass and gemstones. I founded my business — Stefanie Sheehan Handmade Jewelry — in 2012. I live on Long Island, NY, where I work from my small (but functional) home studio.
Art and creating have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was little, my favorite gifts were Play-Doh and markers – I just couldn’t get enough of arts and crafts. Then in high school, I became very interested in painting. That led me to enroll in Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where I started off as a painting major. After attending a senior-class jewelry show, I was inspired to take my first jewelry design class. Needless to say, it was love at first cuff. Something about creating art that could be worn and shown off, with the human body as the canvas, amazed me. Before long, I switched my major to jewelry design and graduated with my BFA in 2012.
Once I graduated, I knew immediately what I wanted to do: I wanted to create jewelry for people to wear and cherish. I began by building a basic studio with the little money I had saved and started experimenting using the materials I had available — mostly wire. Making items to sell was the easy part for me; I already had the skills I needed to create the pieces I envisioned. The hard part was getting people to see my work so that they could buy it. This is where Etsy truly saved me. It took time to build an Etsy shop that I was proud of, but with advice from other Etsy sellers and countless hours of hard work, things started happening.
My inspiration comes from so many places. Patterns, nature, structures, colors, feelings, relationships: all of these things have played a part in my designs. Once I have an idea I want to run with, I either start sketching, carving wax prototypes, or playing with actual metal to get my creative juices flowing.
Being an artist is exciting: I always have new projects to look forward to. I’m constantly striving to make more interesting and beautiful designs that people will want to wear because they feel special and allow for self-expression. My future plans include expanding my list of wholesale relationships and building a bigger online presence; I also plan to have a larger working space by the end of this year. I’m very happy to be continuing my journey as a small business owner, and to be growing creatively and professionally. This is only the beginning!
All photographs by Stefanie Sheehan Handmade Jewelry.