Poetic Metal: Wear Your Story
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. 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 one-of-a-kind pieces, as well as personalized and fully commissioned custom projects.
In my designs, I often construct imagined memories, elegies, and eulogies 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.
A look inside my studio and process. Music by Joseph Minadeo.
A voice from within loss
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.
A bean field on the back acres of my grandparents' Ohio farm.
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.
I recently discovered this piece of paper folded in one of my grandmother's antique books that I inherited; it is one of my early attempts at 19th-century handwriting, around age 8.
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.
A treasured home recording of my great grandfather reciting Poe, circa 1973. He often did this after a long day of farming.
The Swiss School and Poetry
Perhaps the most pervasive influence on my jewelry design aesthetic is my university training in the method of the Swiss School of graphic design, and my decades writing poetry. My sensitivity to the principles of visual organization – along with my love of verse and language – appear throughout 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 review my portfolio of fully commissioned artisan jewelry pieces and contact me to create something beautifully meaningful just for you.
Teresa Kiplinger is a 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 jewelry. Working out of her studio near Cleveland, Ohio, she often explores themes of legacy, erosion, and loss through the portrayal of imagined memories and elegies. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree at Kent State University and is an active member of SNAG, AIGA and MJSA.
Follow Teresa on Instagram @tkiplinger to watch her at work in her studio.
A timelapsevideoof my etching work. Music by Joseph Minadeo.
Client messages and reviews
"The gift made me cry for a long time. The necklace is gorgeous and it's so heartfelt... I feel like I will not ever take it off. The texture is soft and soothing, something I can meditate with comfortably and hold when I need a reminder of how I am loved. You are something beyond amazing in so many ways. You have an amazing way of bringing people together, even when that's an impossible task."
"This piece is such a lovely combination of elements, from the hand cast bee to the patinaed silver chain to the images that Teresa invited me to select from my personal archives. Teresa makes every piece "feel" like a collaboration which is so generous on her part and very exciting for me. She welcomes a dialogue to produce work based in(very) personal narratives. The resulting pieces are not only breathtaking pieces of jewelry, like this one but also pay tribute to relationships, love, humanity..."
"Absolutely perfect. I purchased this for my sister in law who lost her sister suddenly. It was stunning and will be treasured always. Shipping was very fast and Teresa was so kind. There was a handwritten note included expressing her condolences. Recommend highly and I have referred her to everyone who loved the bracelet."
"Teresa is the absolute best. She worked with me to create a memorial bracelet for a friend. She was patient and provided multiple options for me to consider. The end result was a piece of art that will always be cherished."
"Teresa was more than happy to answer any questions I had throughout the ordering process and her responses were very timely. She double checked the special requests I had with my bracelet before starting on it and her attention to detail and overall friendliness made me feel confident about the piece I would receive. The font and shine on the metal looksawesomeand her hands are capable of elegant things. This will be worn at all times and I am so in love with this beautiful keepsake. 10/10 would recommend."
"I reached out to Teresa because I wanted to create a bracelet using my mom's handwriting following her passing. Teresa responded promptly and thoroughly answered all of my questions to help me determine what materials, size, wording, etc would best fit my personal style. I have a smaller wrist and Teresa worked with me to ensure the fit was perfect. The quality of the final product exceeded my expectations. She made the whole experience very positive with her caring attitude."
"To say she was happy is an understatement. Her tears of joy upon opening the jewelry box and reading the message on the bracelets will always be remembered. These are absolutely beautiful pieces, and I would recommend them to everyone."
"From the design decision, a the very beginningtothefinal piece Teresa was a joy to work with. Her talent is endless and her patience with my requested changes appreciated! I ordered 3 very special pieces and each one is uniquely and perfectly made. The quality of work and silver used is amazing and the finish perfectly beautiful. Thank youTeresa! I can't wait to design my next piece with you!!"
"My friend is battling breast cancer. Thankfully, her prognosis is very good but I wanted to have something special made for her to keep her spirits up during chemotherapy. I asked Teresa if she would make her a bronze cuff with a message of encouragement on the inside. We discussed a few options, then Teresa got right to work as she knew I wanted to give it to my friend during her next treatment. She finished it quickly and just before shipping, she asked me if she could add two shiny thin bracelets to give it a little extra sparkle. It was just the perfect finishing touch! The three-piece set is exquisite and superbly crafted. I couldn't have been more thrilled with my purchase and my friend is still very touched. It looks beautiful against her olive skin and is a constant reminder to stay strong. Thank you so much, Teresa!"
"I am speechless. 3 months ago I unexpectedly lost my best friend... my mom. I have been searching for the perfect gift to give myself which would symbolize the love I had for my mom and the love she gave back to me and her beautiful spirit. This is by far the most spectacular piece of jewelry that I will ever own. Saying it's beautiful doesn't even do it justice. You are an incredible artist that has brought a happiness to me that is priceless. My mom would have loved it as much as I do.ThankyouTeresa!"