To create handmade goods of enduring quality that reflect your unique personality and make
Meet the Designer
Where are you from and how long have you been a jewelry artist?
Brandy Jane Ellen Hambleton—that’s a lot of names, but Brandy or Jane work equally as well! I was born and raised in Oklahoma and made my way to North Dakota via extended stays in Reno, Las Vegas, and Jackson Hole.
Making lace of some sort has been a lifelong avocation, working with threads, yarns, and fabrics from a very young age. I’ve been beading professionally about 10 years, adding wire weaving and metalsmithing to my skills along the way, and becoming a Pride of Dakota member in 2014. I discovered that I enjoy hammering metal and am in awe of its malleability. With patience, the obtainable shapes are as diverse as imagination allows.
Other than beadwork and pounding metal, what are your interests?
I was raised by a family of creatives who believed that if you didn’t know how to do something, you read a book about the subject or figured it out yourself with the help of family. At an early age my mom and grandmothers taught me the basics of knitting, crochet, tatting, embroidery, smocking, and sewing. My love of designs with curves and the open, airy feel of lace fueled my passion to pursue other forms of lacemaking and fiber arts such a macrame, knyppla (bobbin lace in the US), Brazilian embroidery, kumihimo, tambour work, spinning, weaving, heirloom sewing, and hand quilting.
My father and grandfathers were tool-oriented and shared their love of woodwork, masonry, and metalwork—including watch repair, carpentry, roofing, welding, rockhounding, and smallscale gold mining. I was allowed to use a hammer a lot!!
What inspired you to become a jewelry artist?
My formal education includes nursing, accounting, and systems analysis—but after working in those professions and suffering a back injury, I became a medical transcriptionist and worked from home for a number of years. Since that’s a very stressful profession, it was a simple decision to turn my part-time business of tailoring, custom quilting, and repairing vintage needlework and beaded items into my full-time enterprise, in addition to all things involved with living on a farm where we raise small grains as sustainably as possible and recycle whatever we can.
A visit to a local craft fair introduced me to a talented bead artist, Ellena Anderson, from whom I commissioned a unique peyote-stitch necklace. Fascination with that piece led me to investigate beading techniques, and I was overwhelmed by the variety of beads—round, cylindrical, freeform, big, tiny, cut, formed, natural, manmade, glass, crystal, metal, stone, gemstone, shiny, matte, and coated. So much to see and learn…
Describe your design style and the materials you use.
Bohemian is probably the best description of my design style—sometimes eclectic or elegant. As a young adult in the 70s, I preferred tie-dyed skirts, macrame’d vests, and long hair— everything loose and flowing. After learning the basics of bead weaving, I was drawn to softer stitch textures that make a “squishy” fabric. Since I’m allergic to metals other than precious ones, it became obvious that making my own findings would be advantageous. Additionally, the design process suffers by using the same over-the-counter findings for every project. This led to learning wire weaving, a technique using very fine wire to weave around larger base wires—which led to designing with larger pieces of precious metals—and the hammering, drilling, and polishing began.
My pieces generally incorporate bead weaving, wire weaving, and metalsmithing techniques. The beads are routinely very small Japanese seed beads, Swarovski® crystals and crystal pearls, and naturally occurring semiprecious stones. The metals are Argentium® (.935) Sterling silver, 18K gold-filled, some Sterling® (.925) silver, and copper treated with a barrier wax. Found, repurposed, or upcycled objects often become a focal design point. My aim is to create one-of-a-kind pieces of enduring quality to delight my clients for years to come.
My home studio is cozily tucked into a farmhouse that is over 100 years old and located in the Turtle Mountain foothills, a remote farming area in North Dakota just a couple of miles from Canada. The dynamic scenery and peaceful lifestyle inspire my creativity.