Inspired by lovelorn letters, forgotten hoards and treasured reliquaries, my custom handwriting bracelets, mourning brooches and photo necklaces tell a tale, preserve a memory, call us to courage.
My jewelry is designed to preserve and hold close our most cherished memories and messages. I combine narrative and handmade craftsmanship with handwriting, memorials and images to create heirloom quality, wearable stories.
Formed from scratch, I create all of my work by hand using traditional silversmithing techniques and tools. Each one-of-a-kind piece is created for those who live artfully and love deeply, to remind us to spend our moments with meaning and intention.
I felt a call to work with my hands after two decades working in digital media as a graphic designer, illustrator and animator. I was burned out, and learning to work with metals provided an analog respite from my high tech day job.
After the death of my teen stepson, I poured my grief into my burgeoning metalwork. I etched a handwritten message into a stack of bracelets in his honor, so that I might wear his memory on my arms. Adorning myself with this talisman brought me comfort. From within this loss, I found my voice, and I wanted to share it with others.
Even before I could read, I was fascinated by the books and ephemera in my grandmother's bookcase; It was stuffed with antique poetry tomes, mysterious snapshots, tintypes, death records, funeral cards and elaborately penned letters. The yellowed, 19th century book illustrations of gossamer angels and tempest-tossed boats drew me into a grown-up world of mortality and miracles. Enchanted, I spent many sullen, snowy Saturdays transcribing stanzas of Browning and Poe, trying to imitate the penmanship of my long-dead ancestors. Decades later, my Saturdays have scarcely changed.
Themes from my rural Ohio upbringing also find their way into my jewelry design. I spent much of my youth alone on my grandparent's defunct farm, happily exploring the silent barn full of sparkling dust and rusted junk, wandering through buzzing pastures and coaxing butterflies to my fingertips. I tinkered in my grandfather's workshop, its ceiling strewn with tiny machine parts, elegant hood ornaments and glass doorknobs; when the wind blew, the whole place winked and tinkled like a scrapheap chandelier.
Pastures and poetry, grief and grace commingle in my expressive and luminous jewelry. It is designed to preserve and hold close our most cherished memories and messages. I combine creativity and handmade craftsmanship with handwriting, memorials and images to create heirloom quality, wearable stories.
Teresa Kiplinger is a studio jeweler and a noted graphic designer. Her poetic aesthetic combines handwritten messages and original illustration with typography, photography and elements from nature. Her work is expressive, personal and hand forged with reverence and care. She earned a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration at Kent State University (1992). She works out of her Northeast Ohio studio, and continually studies jewelry design and metalsmithing techniques.
Wings for Adam, Memorial Necklace. Sterling Silver, Brass, hand fabricated.
Concept Sketches for a modern mourning brooch.
The Beekeper's Dream, Reliquary Brooch. Bronze, Sterling Silver, Enameled Steel
Fluke's Road, Necklace. Graphite on enameled steel, sterling silver, bronze. 1"x1" pendant, 27" chain.
LEFT: Bumble Bee sprued up for casting in silver RIGHT: Bumble bee after casting in sterling silver