Teresa Kiplinger


designer + metalsmith

Poetic Metal: Wear Your Story

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.

A look inside my studio and process.

I felt a call to jewelry design after two decades working with computers as a web 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 metal work. 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.

One of my early attempts at 19th century handwriting, around age 8.

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.

A treasured home recording of my great grandfather reciting Poe, circa 1973. If you iisten carefully, you can hear my granmother working on her loom in the background.

A pasture on the back acres of my grandparents' farm.

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 scrap heap chandelier. 

Pastures and poetry, grief and grace commingle in my expressive and luminous jewelry. I invite you to explore my work and contact me to create something beautifully meaningful just for you.

A timelapse video of my etching work.

Teresa Kiplinger is a studio jeweler and a noted graphic designer. Her poetic jewelry draws inspiration from lovelorn letters, forgotten hoards, and treasured reliquaries. She combines original illustration, photos, messages and elements from nature in her expressive bronze and silver jewelry. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree at Kent State University and works out of her studio near Cleveland, Ohio.

Follow Teresa on Instagram @tkiplinger to see what she is working on in her studio.