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Silver Sparrow Designs: Dream Seeds, Studio Needs, and Good Deeds

Dec 23, 2008

by SilverSparrowDesigns

What you’re looking at is the 100 year old barn behind the home of Kristi, aka SilverSparrowDesigns. With the help of her family and members of her community, Kristi was able to transform the space into her very own working environment, lovingly nicknamed “Spider Dodger Studio” by her husband.
As these things tend to, it all started with a dream.  During my senior year of high school, I took a year long silver-smithing course at the local community college.  I fell in love, vowing to make jewelry for a living, but life happened instead and I followed a different path.  I taught 4th grade for a few years, got married to a wonderful man, and had two amazing children.  But the dream was always there, asleep.

[My daughters, Hazel and June, wearing hats made by nuxiemade.]

About two years ago it awoke.  It stretched and yawned and then got down to business.  All of the sudden, I had such a powerful yearning to make silver jewelry that I could think of little else.  One of the roadblocks that had originally kept me from pursuing a life of silver-smithing was the start-up cost (materials are expensive!).  So, I made a fancy flier that said “I want your old silver-smithing equipment,” and placed it in different areas of my community.  Miraculously, I got a response.  A toothless old man named Arky (short for Arkansas, I believe) called me and even came over to basically set up my shop, all for free. He gave me a lot of the basic tools, helped me set up a bench in my old barn, and built me a buffing wheel out of a dryer motor.  A dear friend of mine, Kelly aka kellybaldwindesign, loaned me a torch, and another friend, Maegan aka ironmaegan, offered to come over and refresh my memory on the basic skills I needed.
I started working with silver again.  I live in the middle of nowhere in southwest Colorado, but as chance would have it, there is a silver supply store, San Juan Gems, right down the street from me. This is where I purchase silver and all of the incidentals I need.  I know it’s hokey, but the first time I started sawing a piece of silver sheet, as the silver dust was falling onto my hand, I felt at home.  I knew I was doing what I had always been intended to do.  And as other “miracles” continued to happen, that feeling was only reaffirmed.
I was having a hard time finding a place to sell my crude little first pieces.  I knew something would come together for me, but I didn’t know what.  Then, Kelly aka kellybaldwindesign started her Etsy shop and suggested I do the same.  I figured I had nothing to lose, and lo and behold, SilverSparrowDesigns has been the answer to my prayers!  Once I started having consistent sales, I realized I could quit my part-time job and do this for real!  So I did. The next hurdle was to establish a place where I could continue to work throughout the winter.
The 100 year old barn behind my house, dubbed “Spider Dodger Studio” by my husband, had been a great place to work at first.  However, it was not without its flaws. As it got colder, I realized it would not be possible to work out there through the winter without freezing.  I started planning ways to better prepare the barn for the cold months, trying to work with what I could afford on my meager budget. I was at the local hardware store, pricing materials to form makeshift frame walls with black plastic stapled to them and insulation stapled to that. As I was talking to the employees, I didn’t realize that the mayor of our little town (who is also a contractor) was standing behind me, overhearing the questions I was asking. When I was finished, he stopped me and offered to come over and take a look at my space to see what we could do.  After looking around, he offered to not only help with the project, but to put all of the materials on his account at the store.  He said I could pay what I could, making up the rest by babysitting for his son and making jewelry for his wife!
[Jim Lein, the generous mayor of Dolores, Colorado.]
We planned a weekend when my parents could come down from Denver to assist with building and babysitting, and recruited friends to come help out as well.  We got the whole project done — framing, insulation, drywall, wood stove — in about 10 days. 

About a week after the studio was finished, with its cozy old wood stove blazing away, another wonderful coincidence occurred.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and met an amazing woman who had all the equipment I could ever need, (torch, Foredom, buffing wheel, etc.) all top-quality stuff, just sitting in her garage, needing a new home.  She agreed to sell it to me for a fraction of it’s worth!  Now I had all brand new equipment to go in my brand new studio.
 [My dad, Jim, and my husband, Glenn, hard at work on the framing.]
I just know I am doing what I was always meant to do.  Ever since the completion of the studio, the orders have been flowin’ in.  I am doing it now.  I am what I always wanted to be, a full-time mother and a full-time jewelry maker.  I am so very grateful for all of the wonderful people who helped make my dream a reality, and for Etsy, for all of my fabulous customers who enable me to continue doing what I love while being at home with my kids!
My nice warm cozy new shop!


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  • vozclothingandart

    vozclothingandart said 8 years ago

    Love your story- copngratulations. Also, I just received my custom guitar pick- its gorgeous and so is the packaging. :)

  • silverdotjewelry

    silverdotjewelry said 8 years ago

    What a lovely story. Your studio looks amazing and your work is gorgeous!!!

  • 4TheSparrowsNest

    4TheSparrowsNest said 8 years ago

    Very inspirational!! I love that the community and unexpected strangers pulled together to help SilverSparrowDesigns fulfill her dream. With enough determination and hard work other artists can fulfill their dreams too....

  • bluetricycle

    bluetricycle said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like everything fell right into place by holding on to your dream : )

  • StelmaDesigns

    StelmaDesigns said 8 years ago

    Oh, what a wonderful story, having a studio again now that my girls are older is also my dream. I'm so glad yours has come true!

  • christinececelia

    christinececelia said 8 years ago

    Your girls are sooooo cute!

  • mudpuppy

    mudpuppy said 8 years ago

    Wow, such an incredible story. Follow your heart and it will come. I am going to send this to all my friends now...Anyone have an old barn i can move into and fix up? LOL.

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake said 8 years ago

    It's amazing how things fall right into place, great story!

  • liltinpurse

    liltinpurse said 8 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am in the process of fixing up a little corner of my husband's shop. Much happiness to you and your family!!!!

  • thepuddlepeople

    thepuddlepeople said 8 years ago

    Looks like you are blessed in so many ways! Wishing you all the best in all that you do. Your designs are lovely!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful article! Congrats on the new studio.

  • jamieshelman

    jamieshelman said 8 years ago

    so glad you're able to pursue your dream, fantastico!

  • simpledream2

    simpledream2 said 8 years ago

    Awesome be blessed with creativity, skill, friends, family, neighbors and even strangers to help you make your dream come true. I wish you much success. Lisa

  • qwynwyn

    qwynwyn said 8 years ago

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing it!

  • makadesigns

    makadesigns said 8 years ago

    super cool...great people do great things

  • mpaperarts

    mpaperarts said 8 years ago

    Great article, ridiculously cute kids, and wonderful favorites!

  • fairytaleinc

    fairytaleinc said 8 years ago

    What a great story. I have a similar one. I too, work out of my 110 year old barn in Saugatuck Michigan. Your work is absolutely beautiful. I wonder if the former barn owners had any any idea of what they would eventually give birth too. I look forward to watching your work blossom!

  • KellyBaldwinDesign

    KellyBaldwinDesign said 8 years ago

    YAY Kristi! The article turned out reads like a fairy sweet!!! Honored to be a small part of your dream come true. You deserve every happiness and ALL your wishes granted!

  • BluCille

    BluCille said 8 years ago

    Such cute kids. What a blessing.

  • SilverSparrowDesigns

    SilverSparrowDesigns said 8 years ago

    thank you so much everyone! what wonderful comments. and i so feel so so blessed and grateful, especially this time of year!


    LANYARDLADY said 8 years ago

    wow, your story gives me hope that dreams really can come true! i'll hang on to the hope that one day i can do what i love to do, and do it full-time. thanks for sharing this inspiring article.

  • SilverSparrowDesigns

    SilverSparrowDesigns said 8 years ago

    oops. i meant i DO feel so so blessed...

  • LaireMarie

    LaireMarie said 8 years ago

    Such an great story! I also love the horseshoe earrings - very cool!

  • jodieflowers

    jodieflowers said 8 years ago

    Awesome Story and very inspiring! Peace and Etsy love!

  • ThePower

    ThePower said 8 years ago

    Really cool work studio, and such a supportive spouse! Many of us are envious!!!:)

  • wireddesign

    wireddesign said 8 years ago

    How inspiring!! Perhaps one day.... :)

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 8 years ago

    Great story, enjoy your warm cozy new shop, and your children are adorable, you have been blessed. Wish you great success~!

  • suzshan

    suzshan said 8 years ago

    What an inspiring story. It proves that when you send your intentions out into the world to follow a dream, Spirit responds with abundance and prosperity and special ones to make it all come true. Happy Holidays.

  • MagnoliaFern

    MagnoliaFern said 8 years ago

    What a great story, it just goes to know that once you find your calling, nothing can stand in your way! Give that mayor a hug from me next time you see him, imagine if all us etsyians had a patron as generous as that!

  • Ozarknana

    Ozarknana said 8 years ago

    A heartwarming "must read" on this Christmas eve! Blessings and much success to you.....great story...

  • PDXfabricdeli

    PDXfabricdeli said 8 years ago

    Yeah...for following your heart.... great story too.

  • AchAchLiebling

    AchAchLiebling said 8 years ago

    So glad you shared that wonderful story with us. I'm sure working in that cozy studio everyday must be the best reminder of the generosity and hard work of every family member, friend, and neighbor who rallied together and pitched in. Kristi, I wish you continued joy in your studio and your home. Stay warm!

  • waltersbeads

    waltersbeads said 8 years ago

    follow your heart and you meet your dreams

  • HippieDippyDesigns

    HippieDippyDesigns said 8 years ago

    We love this story!!! Congrats to you on all of your success. = )

  • leafprintstudio

    leafprintstudio said 8 years ago

    Wonderful story! I too have felt blessed to have talented people share their skills, knowledge, and encouragement with me. What better way to repay the universe but to do the same for others...

  • metalicious

    metalicious said 8 years ago

    Congratulations and what an inspirational story! It is so heartwarming that so many people pitched in to make your dream come true. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • VedaArts

    VedaArts said 8 years ago

    what a beautiful story. really very beautiful.

  • annedinan

    annedinan said 8 years ago

    everytime i read a story like yours i get inspired all over again, to work, to help other artists, and to appreciate what i have. your work is wonderfull. peace anne

  • pinkshowercurtain

    pinkshowercurtain said 8 years ago

    that is such a great success story. aww, i love hearing stuff like this. :)

  • NitaMaesGarden

    NitaMaesGarden said 8 years ago

    Love your work! The piece called My Happy Place is so inspiring. To be the pearl with bands holding one in place constantly. Awesome! So well interpreted! :) Congratulations on your "barn"! I loved reading the inspiring story. Best Wishes and Many Blessings to you and your family. :)

  • dinosaurcollective

    dinosaurcollective said 8 years ago

    I'm glad to see that the Creative Queen inside of you has woken up. I wouldn't mind having a space like that.

  • emberatia

    emberatia said 8 years ago

    community is where its at! It blows me away every time when I see a community pull together and make it happen, so inspiring.

  • ReneeSuich

    ReneeSuich said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful, inspiring story. So glad I took the time to read it, now I must go back and look at your shop. Thank you for sharing.

  • ontheway

    ontheway said 8 years ago

    How wonderful that so many people came to help you with your dream. God Bless all your work and your sweet family

  • nightlightbeads

    nightlightbeads said 8 years ago

    Go Kristi!!!!

  • blinkonmynose

    blinkonmynose said 8 years ago

    This is such a great story Kristi. It's so good to read about people doing what they really love to do and surrounding themselves with positivity to make it happen. Congrats!

  • littlebbunny

    littlebbunny said 8 years ago

    WOW! What a wonderful story about the power of community and perseverance.

  • GammaGammaStudio

    GammaGammaStudio said 8 years ago

    That's a beautiful heart warming story Kristi. Congratulation to your new workshop!!

  • hipclothing

    hipclothing said 8 years ago

    serendipity! (sp?)

  • rockyshardwear

    rockyshardwear said 8 years ago

    i have had you marked as a favorite for a while now. fun to have the story that goes w/your nice work. thanks for the history. all the best to you!!

  • SilverSparrowDesigns

    SilverSparrowDesigns said 8 years ago

    thank you again so much to all of you for your wonderful comments. i really DO feel like it is a fairy tale... i am grateful every day!

  • GreighdayVintage

    GreighdayVintage said 8 years ago

    SilverSparowDesigns - What an amazing studio you have! I love it.... wonderful!

  • lassothemoon

    lassothemoon said 8 years ago

    This story got me a little choked up. But, I don't believe in coincidences. Congratulations on getting your heart's desire!

  • BigHandDesigns

    BigHandDesigns said 8 years ago

    Great story and products. The barn is great!

  • GretasDesign

    GretasDesign said 8 years ago

    a dream come true, you're a brave lady. congrats on your professional and personal successes.

  • LaBodaCollection

    LaBodaCollection said 8 years ago

    What a wonderful story! So glad your dream came true! =o) Very inspirational.

  • miraculousmosquito

    miraculousmosquito said 8 years ago

    Such a lovely story! Thanks for sharing it with us :) Sounds like you live in a nice town with all those generous and helpful people.

  • BirdAndMoonStudio

    BirdAndMoonStudio said 8 years ago

    wonderful story. Great space!

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 8 years ago

    Very inspiring!

  • poppycottage

    poppycottage said 8 years ago

    what a wonderful studio...

  • LarissaSpafford

    LarissaSpafford said 7 years ago

    Wow! You have an amazing story. It's wonderful to hear how everything came together for you so serendipitously and is working out so well for you :)

  • rabbitdance

    rabbitdance said 6 years ago

    This is a sign that you really are where you're meant to be. I'm happy for you. ^_^ I can identify, too. I got the same feeling the first time I started working with metal.

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