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We’re featuring some of our favorite Etsy artists this season in our catalog and online, including Olive Yew Jewels‘ gold and rose gold bangles! Angela Parker-Kennedy takes a less-is-more approach to her jewelry design, and we love the simplicity of her handcrafted pieces. We met up with the North Carolina-based goldsmith to talk shop…

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What’s the Olive Yew origin story?

I began making jewelry after working for years in a corporate position. I was itchy to escape my cubicle, so I took some local metalsmithing classes and was hooked! My Etsy shop opened in April of 2011. I remember thinking that I always enjoyed making small things, and I always had a hard time finding jewelry simple enough for my tastes. It just made sense. Things were slow at first, but now it’s my full time job!

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What is your favorite part about working with metal, and how would you describe your design philosophy?

I love making items that people connect with enough to wear. A piece of jewelry is such a personal statement – I’m always amazed and honored to have people choose mine! I also love the possibility of metal. It’s so much fun to push limits and I learn something new everyday!

My design philosophy is keep it simple. I like to keep things clean, and I have to pull myself back a lot from adding unnecessary bells and whistles. I think good design means (among other things) knowing when to stop.

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How does being in Charlotte affect your art and your day-to-day life as a studio?

It’s a quieter pace of life here, and it allows me to think and create in peace. I’ve lived in larger cities, but being close to my friends and family is important to me, and the climate here is great. In fact, my friends often help me out in the studio with shipping and packaging and odds & ends. I couldn’t have done this without them.

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Where do you like to turn to for inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere, even at the supermarket. I’m constantly busted checking out rings, earrings, necklaces and earrings on folks. I can’t help it. I like to see what people are wearing!

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Angela’s jewelry is featured on page 35 of the 2012 Holiday catalog, and on You can follow Olive Yew Jewels on her blog and Facebook page.

See more of our featured Etsy artists here!

Grand Lacquer Jewelry Box

Images: Olive Yew Jewels, west elm

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