I’m Elsa Dye, the designer and maker of the jewelry on this site. Thanks for coming to see what I’m about!
Originally from Alaska, I now live in a nice old house in Saint Helens, Oregon with my husband Tony and our two odd cats Marley and Niflheim. My studio is a quick walk across the yard that I have planted with as many fruit trees as I could possibly fit (coming from Alaska it still amazes me that fruit grows on trees!). I’ve done a lot of different things in my life, including going to school for apparel design, working as a seamstress, and spending a number of years as a costume fabricator for stop action and live action puppet films. This site, and my jewelry designs mark the first time that I have really gone out on my own with a creative endeavor, and it is something that I have been dreaming about for years. Have a look around, and enjoy!
Some thoughts on making and handmade objects:
The drive to make things and a love for the handmade have been parts of me for as long as I can remember. I have a vivid recollection of learning to braid yarn one day in kindergarten and feeling so excited to be taught something that was this important. Once I had the knowledge of how to braid, it opened up a myriad of new avenues for exploration. What if I tried to braid something other than yarn - maybe paper, or fabric? Could I braid more than three strands? What would happen if they were different colors? I’ve spent a good part of my life experimenting with this type of inquiry, and I still feel that same passion today as I learn new techniques and conduct exciting experiments in how to use them.
The presence of handmade objects has also been a constant throughout my life. My grandfather made me a wooden cradle when I was a baby, which was stocked with knitted and sewn blankets from my grandmothers. My father made me gifts of wooden toys (including, one memorable Christmas an entire dollhouse!) and my mother made drawings and batik dolls. There was the time that my Stepmother turned my brother and I loose with paints on a giant sheet of paper so that we could experiment with making foot paintings (does it count as handmade if you use your feet?) . Today, I live in a home surrounded by my husband’s artwork (that’s his handiwork on my logo!) and many lovely things made by our family and friends.
I believe that people need daily access to artwork and handcrafted items. I have a special relationship with the things that I own which were made by hand. These are cherished items. They make me feel happy and special whenever I use them or see them. There is an organic feel to anything handmade, a human warmth that you won’t find in things mass produced by a machine. A handmade item will never be made in quite the same way by two different people. We each have our own individual stitch lengths, chisel marks, cutting styles, and many other tiny personal signatures of craftsmanship that we impress on the things that we make. Using handmade objects and interacting with them connects us back to being human and enjoying the wonderful things that humans can accomplish.
One of the things that I love to make is jewelry. It’s portable handmade art. You can have it with you all day long, for your own and other’s enjoyment. There is that sensation that you have when you are wearing one of your favorite things and it is making you feel that much prettier. I experience this every time I wear the handmade earrings that my husband gave to me as a gift last year. He found them at an artist’s open studio, and knew that I would love them. I’ve never met the maker, but I still get a thrill when I wear then because they are unique and handmade and mine. I hope that my own creations can make you feel this way,
All of my jewelry designs are handmade by me in my studio.
Tatting is a traditional handmade lace, created by manipulating fine thread with a shuttle. My original tatted designs feature 100% Egyptian cotton thread with the addition of Japanese and Czech glass beads.
I hand cut and form my tin jewelry pieces from repurposed decorative tin canisters. Because they are made from an ever-varied repurposed material, each one is entirely unique and one of a kind.