Clearly Abstract: Belle Armoire Feature

I’ve been dabbling and developing abstract painted jewelry for about 2 years now, and my latest version of this simple concept is combining paint, gold leaf, clear acrylic and walnut wood. As with previous versions of the abstract painted line, I’m still making a larger abstract painting (this time on clear acrylic) and cutting it up into unique pieces for the setting, but now I’m adding in gold leaf and making my own settings with laser engraved wood. I’m so thrilled with the direction this collection is taking!

Read all about my process and how this whole series got started in this month’s issue of Belle Armoire Magazine. All items pictured are available at in the splatter painted jewelry section.


Etsy Manufacturing

I’m an American maker, a creative entrepreneur, and as of a few months ago, an Etsy Manufacturer. I’m thrilled to be a part of this marketplace for many reasons. First and foremost, I want to be involved in the vibrant maker community on a local, national, and international level, and Etsy connects us like no other. I’ve been offering laser cutting services for years now, so this new extension of Etsy is a wonderful (and much needed) way to simplify the process of matching up those who need help with those who are able to offer it.

I have invested in equipment for my own business Once Again Sam, and I have skills that are beneficial to others, so Etsy Manufacturing is the perfect fit. Over the years, various businesses have found me and hired out prototypes, production of parts and pieces for their own designs, and in some cases, I have made their entire product from start to finish based on their sketches. There are many many ways these partnerships work, and I think the hardest part of the whole process is finding each other to begin with. Not anymore!

Manufacturing can sometimes be a dirty word in the world of handmade. Negative images come to mind, (shady business practices, unhealthy work conditions in factories, the death of old fashioned craftsmanship, etc.), but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are responsible ways to grow your business by increasing production, or developing your inventions, or even just expanding your product offerings, and Etsy Manufacturing is a fantastic new resource. You can search for assistance by location or by the type of production needed. Some of these Etsy Manufacturers are also Etsy sellers, just like me, and some are small businesses that have been in the manufacturing business for decades. Whatever it is you need, I’m certain you can find someone on Etsy Manufacturing who can make it for you.

Here's what I can do: I have two laser cutters in my studio (a 40 watt and a 90 watt Full Spectrum laser cutter). With these machines, I’m am able to make precise cutouts & engravings on wood, acrylic, paper, cardboard, and leather material (just to name a few). I can help with preliminary design, or jump right into production mode if you’re ready to get started. My minimums are approachable, my prices are reasonable, and my turnaround times are speedy (typically only 1 week once material is acquired).

To find out more please visit my Etsy Manufacturing profile:

I was thrilled to have Etsy Manufacturing sponsor a professional photography session in my studio recently with the talented Angela Cox of Angela Cox Photography. The photos she took help make my Etsy Manufacturing profile more personal, which is exactly what I wanted. When you work with Once Again Sam, you're working directly with me on a personal level, even if we never meet in person. 

Architecture Meets Jewelry

Architecture and jewelry have a lot in common: form & function, balance, personal connection, and materiality, just to name a few. It’s no surprise the A & D industry has contributed to the jewelry world, and vice versa. Recently, I was commissioned to make a small contribution of my own, and the experience was the ultimate collision of my career and small business.

My background is in commercial interior design. When I’m not running my handmade jewelry business Once Again Sam, I’m working as an interior designer part time for LS3P, a major architecture firm in the Southeast. I’m part of the Worship Studio, which consists of a dedicated group that helps design traditional and contemporary churches all over the country. Interior Design and Jewelry Design influence each other in ways I never imagined. I have designed floor tile patterns that became leather cutout cuffs, and I have chosen wood veneer for pendants that ended up appearing on feature walls. Design is design, oftentimes applicable beyond it’s intended application.

Women in Architecture of the Upstate recently commissioned me to create a special gift for their upcoming event, to be given to the speaker, Kate Schwennsen. Each year, they feature a different artist, and have commissioned a variety of work that ranges from painting, to film, and fine jewelry. I was glad for the opportunity, and a little curious how the design committee process might go.

Working as an interior designer means I regularly meet with committees to present concepts and material finishes, and share sketches of potential designs. I’m used to feedback, managing a range of different opinions, and communicating ideas with clients. However, working as an independant jewelry designer and small business owner, I’m used to working alone, having almost no feedback, developing ideas from start to finish with zero outside influence. Designing jewelry with a committee was an entirely new opportunity, a combination of my two skill sets, and the experience ended up being incredibly enjoyable thanks to the wonderful ideas and productive interaction with the WIA group. I’m also thrilled with how the final gift turned out and hope the recipient is too!

This is the final gift set - it includes a mahogany jewelry box with a laser engraved top, and matching leather lining. Inside is an orange laser cut leather bracelet, a pair of bocote stud earrings with orange leather insets, plus a geometric bocote pendant with brass tube detail (the orange is a nod to Clemson’s colors, because Professor Schwennsen is director of The School of Architecture at Clemson University).

So how did we end up here? Where did this design come from? The process went something like this:

The committee shared what they knew about the speaker, her style, what kind of jewelry they thought she’d enjoy. We also wanted to portray an abstract storyline about the “bridge” between an education in architecture and career to inspire the geometry and connections within the jewelry itself.

  • We looked at examples of jewelry I had made in the past, so that the group would better understand the kind work I’m able to create, plus we reviewed color and material options available.

  • I developed 4 concept sketches showing different wooden pendant ideas, which was our primary piece. Some ideas were similar to pieces currently in my jewelry line, others were 100% new.

  • The group provided feedback on the sketches, asked questions, brought up some excellent points, and I made a few templates and prototypes before getting final approval to proceed with an option.

  • I began making the final pieces based on a majority vote in favor of option #1 (and had some help from my handy husband making the box to contain the set).

The final gift set was presented at the AIA / WIA meeting on October 20th, following Kate’s talk titled “We’ve Done More than Stir: Celebrating Women Leaders, Creating Cultural Change”. It was easy to see why she’s one of the most admired educators in the USA, and I was really inspired by her message. Women have been making headway in the field of Architecture, which is exciting, but there’s still a long way to go!