Dreamy whimsy and vintage charm, Susan Goodwin is an incredible artist to have on your radar. Read on to discover the vision behind the beauty!
Where do you draw your greatest inspiration from?
Pearls are my first love because the depth of iridescence in a good pearl still makes my toes curl. The realization of a gem coming from a place of irritation is a mindful study on patience that I use often. It’s the symbology in that equation that I find so bewitching! I’m a sucker for signs and symbols and have studied alchemical alphabets for many years. Sometimes they make more sense to me than our Roman alphabet. Most artists are inspired by nature and the calm elegance of organic material. I think growing up in a jungle where I lived and breathed nature every day is so deeply engrained in my DNA that I differ in my inspiration. My inspiration comes from the raw material I’m holding in my hand. It ‘tells’ me what it wants to be and how to frame designs so as to show off the stones ‘best selves’.
What is a typical day in your studio like?
Our studio is in an 1880’s farmhouse with all the beautiful blemishes and warmth of history surrounding us. Situated in Oregon Wine Country we start early and end late. It’s always a surprise to look up to see the clock and discover it’s 8pm. Our environment is hard working, but we manage to have quite a bit of fun!
What song do you have on repeat right now?
Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Miles Davis or pure silence are my favorite sound waves while working.
What are you working on that you’re most excited about?
PEARLS PEARLS PEARLS are a big focus right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve been designing a wide array of single pearl necklaces in different price points with earrings to match. It’s my happiest place. Clear quartz with oxidized sterling has been a favorite this year and will be continued with even more work arriving in the next two weeks. There’s nothing more fulfilling than finding the key to bringing your vision forward and manifesting.
What other art do you like to make? Light boxes. Little assemblages of pods, dried bugs, pressed flowers and rusty nails. Anything with a clean shape or a deep texture that tell a story in a symbolic way with a small flickering light representing the point in the story that changes everything. The tipping point. They are my beloved friends, so I give them to my beloved friends. Right now I have a tiny frog carcass the ants are eating to the bone and I can’t wait to put it in a light box.
Why did you decide to become a jewelry designer?
I have a long and deep passion for designing and making jewelry. My hope is that my work lifts the wearer in some way or reminds them of something important to their hearts. It is important to me to connect, although sometimes in an unspoken way, with each customer, by inspiring in them a new idea or a meaningful symbol to assist in staying mindful of what they hold dear or have learned. It is my belief that gemstones and pearls possess little souls and my job is to create a framework or scaffolding for that little soul to shine in.
I will have my 40th anniversary in this field in just a few more months. I decided to commit my life to Jewelry in 1980 when I moved from Portland to Seattle. At that time, there were no bead stores, no tools, no classes nor bead sources as it was well before the genre had taken a foot hold. I taught myself what I know by taking vintage pieces apart and reworking the components. I learned construction and design and even some color combinations in this fashion. Most of the techniques out there today are things people did in the 1800's and 1900’s but are not known as the source to 95% of applications. Bead weaving, lamp working, most wire work and a host of other concepts can be traced back to a source from the past.
Where was your favorite vacation?
Traveling abroad is a requirement for me. Paris is the most feminine city in the world while Rome one of the most masculine and I have visited both often over the last 30 years. I love submerging myself in other cultures as I learn so so much about design and color by traveling. I spent months in Indonesia in the 1980’s when it wasn’t overrun with tourists. I was right at home having been raised in the Hawaiian Tropics. The foliage, colors and smells were very similar. It reminded me of all the play time I had running through the jungle, jumping over lava rock and swimming in the ocean every day on the Island of O’ahu where I lived in the 50’s and 60’s . There is a special scent in the Tropics I’m addicted to. The smell of fresh flowers mixed in with the decomposing flower petals that carpet the jungle floor is intoxicating.