So I know it is a bit scary that it is time to start thinking about this…but the holidays are right around the corner. Thinking about a special gift for a special lady, barn friend, trainer, your mother, or just about anyone else that loves horses or hounds? Something from GoodSport by Sally Lowe might just what you’re looking for. I absolutly love her use of the vintage pieces in her jewerly and think they would make fabulous gifts! Read on to learn more!
What is your background?
I started making art when I was about 8 years old. In the early years I carried a sketch book with me everywhere I went and was constantly drawing. This coincided with the time in my life when I fell in love with horses. Much of my early work consisted of drawings or paintings of horses. I received both a BFA and MFA in Painting & Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. When I married and had children my art work became limited to what I could accomplish in short spurts of time between my other responsibilities.
How long have you been creating jewelry and how did you start?
I started making jewelry as a hobby about ten years ago when I realized that the jewelry I saw in stores was just not practical for a lifestyle that included lots of outdoor activities. I wanted to create something that was pretty and feminine but that also stood up to the rigors of being around horses all day long. Shortly after starting to design pieces that met my needs my friends took notice! Before long I found myself producing jewelry for them. They were my best critiques and helped me by giving me feedback on what they did and didn’t like. In the beginning I gave my jewelry away, however over time I started selling it so that I could invest in needed equipment and supplies. As my little business grew I created a website so that I could sell my work beyond the local market.
Do you do mostly direct sales or do you sell in shops as well?
My work has sold at many horse shows and in many tack shops over the years however these days most of my sales are via my website. I attend a number of shows each year like the Virginia Foxhound show where loyal customers come back to visit me each year. I also do trunk shows when the opportunity is within a few hours drive.
Is this your day job?
I am a marketing director by day. I plan to make jewelry full time once I retire.
How do you get inspired to create a piece?
That’s such a great question! Many of my pieces are made from antique buttons and vintage medals. The color, form or subject matter of the button or medal usually speaks to me in some way and stimulates my creativity. Commissioned work is a great source of inspiration as I find that I think differently when a customer is giving me input on their likes and dislikes. The whole process is very intuitive and based on my collective experience designing for a range of different customers and continues to evolve as I meet new people and learn new techniques.
Once inspired, what is your creative process to design and create a piece of jewelry?
That depends on the complexity of the piece I am designing. For less complicated pieces my process is very intuitive. I put together pieces based on what has appealed to my customers in the past. For the more complex work, I often start with sketches and refine my ideas until what I have come up with “feels right”. The process I use for fabricating work starts with flat sheets of sterling silver and sterling silver wire. I make a pattern, cut it out and put it together by soldering. Often times the very nature of the materials and process I use dictates a change in plan. The piece then evolves based on that process. Often pieces that go through this more complex process are the most interesting and unique.
What is your favorite part of your being an artist/jewelry maker?
Bringing my ideas to life and creating something totally unique for my customers.
Any parts you don’t enjoy quite as much?
Part of being an artist means saying goodbye to your work when it is sold and starting anew. In the beginning it was really hard to let go of something that I had just created!
Describe your client:
Women between the ages of 25 and 65 who have a passion for horses, dogs and the sporting lifestyle. They foxhunt, go to horse shows, breed horses and teach their children to love equestrian activities as much as they do. These women want jewelry that is both practical and beautiful. They want pieces that can be worn at the barn or to a hunt ball. They appreciate unique one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect their personalities. It is also not unusual for the husbands of these women to call me when they are looking for something special!
Why are horses a big subject for your jewelry?
Horses have been a passion of mine for five decades and the majority of my friends are involved in some aspect of the horse world. I also love beautiful old buttons and have collected them for years. When I discovered a way to connect the many things that I love, this is where I landed.
What is your history with horses?
I started riding at about ten years old. I hauled water buckets and mucked stalls in return for lessons on badly behaved ponies. When I was about sixteen I started training and exercising warmbloods for the MFH’s of my local hunt club. In addition to foxhunting I showed hunters and did some eventing while my kids were in pony club.
How can DE readers purchase your jewelry and learn more about your work?
The easiest way to purchase my jewelry is through my website at www.sallylowe.com. Much of my work includes the setting of my clients heirloom pieces into a more wearable piece that has been customized to me their needs. For questions regarding commisioned work please email me at [email protected].