I am a studio jeweler inspired by lovelorn letters, forgotten hoards, and treasured reliquaries. My expressive jewelry is designed to evoke a memory and tell a story.
Working in sterling silver, enamel and bronze, I create heirloom-quality wearable stories and love to delight my clients with jewelry that exceeds their expectations. I combine traditional metals techniques with original poetry, illustration and graphic design in my narrative jewelry. I fabricate my artisan works by hand and design ready-to-wear pieces, as well as personalized and fully commissioned custom projects.
In my designs, I often construct imagined memories and elegies based on found photos and stream-of-consciousness drawings and then allow them to emerge in my work as micro-stories. I also allude to my rural Ohio childhood in my work through themes of legacy, isolation, erosion, and loss. I enjoy mixing modern with classical design sensibilities, so the observer is not sure from whence the pieces came.
I felt a call to jewelry design after two decades working with computers as a web designer, illustrator, and animator. Learning the vexing craft of metalsmithing provided an analog respite from my high tech day job.
After the death of my teen stepson, I poured my grief into my burgeoning metal work. I etched a handwritten message into a stack of bracelets in his honor. Adorning myself with this talisman brought me comfort. From within this loss, I found my voice.
Themes from my rural Ohio childhood often find their way into my jewelry design. I spent much of my youth alone on my grandparents' defunct farm, happily exploring the silent barn full of sparkling dust and rusted junk, wandering through buzzing pastures and coaxing grasshoppers to my fingertips. I tinkered in my grandfather's workshop, its ceiling decorated with dangling hood ornaments, hubcaps, and glass doorknobs; when the wind blew, the whole place winked and tinkled like a scrap heap chandelier.
Even before I could read, I was fascinated by the contents of my grandmother's bookcase. Antique poetry tomes, mysterious snapshots, tintypes, death records, funeral cards and elaborately penned letters overflowed from its shelves. Her collection of yellowed, 19th-century books full of engraved gossamer angels and tempest-tossed boats drew me into a grown-up world of mortality and miracles. Enchanted, I spent many sullen, snowy Saturdays in my grandmother's farmhouse transcribing stanzas of Browning and Poe, trying to imitate the penmanship of my long-dead ancestors. Decades later, I am the keeper of the bookcase and its contents, and my Saturdays have scarcely changed.
My university training in graphic design and illustration heavily influence my work. While my jewelry does not always reflect the notoriously minimal Swiss School aesthetic in which I was trained, its principles are ever present in my work, from designing with negative space to a manic sensitivity to typography.
But the most pervasive influence on my jewelry design is my lifelong affinity for writing, reading, and studying poetry. Throughout my university coursework and beyond, I have used words to capture and convey a precise feeling, moment and meaning, and it remains my favorite mode of creative expression.
A trained eye for the principles of visual organization – along with a love of verse and language – emerge in my work as delicately balanced elements that commingle and communicate.
Pastures and poetry, grief and grace, structure and spontaneity coalesce in my expressive and luminous jewelry. I invite you to explore my selection of bracelets, necklaces and rings that can be purchased and personalized, or view my portfolio of fully commissioned artisan jewelry pieces and contact me to create something beautifully meaningful just for you.
Read what my clients are saying about my work.
Teresa Kiplinger is a poet, studio jeweler and a noted graphic designer. She works in sterling silver, enamel and bronze to create heirloom-quality wearable stories. She combines traditional craftsmanship with original illustration, graphic design, imagery and narrative in her metalwork. She often explores themes of legacy, erosion, and loss through the portrayal of imagined memories, elegies, and scenes from her rural Ohio childhood. Her work has appeared in Belle Armoire Magazine and exhibitions, and she is an active member of SNAG, AIGA, and MJSA. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree at Kent State University and works out of her studio near Cleveland, Ohio.
Concept Sketches for a modern mourning brooch.
LEFT: Bumble Bee sprued up for casting in silver RIGHT: Bumble bee after casting in sterling silver
Etching in Progress