We're continuing our series to help you get to know the hands (and the people they belong to) behind our handcrafted jewelry. Please meet Spencer, a betsy & iya veteran of a little over a year.

Name:  Spencer

Title:  Maker

Hometown:  Bay Area

Zodiac Sign:  Cancer

Can you describe your path to becoming a Maker?:  When I was learning Stop motion animation at the Academy of Art in San Francisco it was a requirement to learn jewelry making to get used to working in miniature and get an eye for detail so I kinda got into it through that and kept pursuing it. After school, I worked for a production company doing Stop motion animation, and then I was a freelance animator for a while doing various projects and working on my own jewelry. Then I moved to Portland and found this job.

Being a maker has taught me:  To appreciate handmade goods and to support small businesses. Seeing and knowing what it takes to create and run a business and how challenging it can be make me want to support them.

My favorite piece of jewelry to make is and why:  I like to form cuffs, it's always a challenge finding the right shape and it’s very satisfying when you have a big pile of finished cuffs.

Maker Spencer hammering a cuff bracelet

hand hammered Tilikum cuff bracelets

What are some of your favorite tools to work with:  Hammers and the casting equipment. I like the manipulation of metal and those are the kind of tools you can use to form and change it. The hammer is a very universal tool and casting is creating it.

Items of jewelry you most often make:  I do a lot of forming and soldering for the company. I like jewelry making in the sense that I can sit and do it for long stretches and not get bored.

 
Maker Spencer at a soldering task
Spencer working on a soldering task.

 

Best thing about my job:  Being able to work with my hands and create. I’ve always been interested in making and creating things and I don’t see myself doing anything else.

Maker Spencer after casting a 14k gold ring
Looking happy after a successful cast of a 14k gold Fine Collection ring.

 

Favorite b&i Piece to Wear:  The black Durango Pod ring. I like its clean lines and it has a kind of unisex appeal, plus a lot of people with different styles can wear it.

Do you listen to music while you make? If so, what are some of your fave jams?  I listen to more podcasts. I like a lot of ones about history- topical ones like that, as well as comedy ones. I like to listen to podcasts (instead of music) because it keeps me thinking while I’m working. The rhythm of music falls into a beat and becomes mundane and repetitive but an interesting podcast keeps me focused and helps my mind stay on what I’m doing.

When I’m not working, I’m probably doing this:  Working on my own jewelry or working on my house. I work on my own jewelry line at my production studio at home that I began in 2009. And I’ve been building my own house for the last 2 years.

What's your favorite thing to do, or place to visit, in the Portland area?  There are so many great music venues in this city, it’s always fun to go to a wide variety of shows that happen here. I go to anything from punk to country to rock, just based on what’s going on.

Spencer at the work bench

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