We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Wachler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I was born into a jewelry family (now in its fourth generation.) As immigrants from Eastern Europe, my paternal grandfather and his brother settled in Detroit in the 1930’s and started a jewelry business. My mother studied fine art and spent time painting, sculpting and transforming discarded objects into beautiful decor. Although the jewelry business was not an interest for my father (who worked as an attorney) my brother worked in the family jewelry business eventually branching off to run his own shop. I always loved visiting the jewelry world of my grandfather and cousins and I have fine memories of learning about heirloom pieces and how they were made.
Although it is hard to imagine, the family business did not employ or apprentice women. Therefore, I put my jewelry ideas to the side and became a psychotherapist owning and operating an Atlanta based practice for over 34 years. When my children were college age, I revived my jewelry interests through informal study as well as taking classes locally. After four years of tinkering, I began to imagine a jewelry business. I am a one woman show- I work out of my home studio and sell my work on line and at art shows in the southeast. Susan Wachler Jewelry was birthed in 2017, in Decatur GA.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My jewelry is sculptural and contemporary and defies the “rules” of metal smithing. Coming to jewelry making in my 50’s, I decided I would work unconventionally and trust my curiosity and inner guidance to create small scale one of a kind pieces of wearable art. My work is rich with texture often created with my torches. In my work as a therapist, I have heard decades of stories of triumph over hardship and I try to tell those wordless stories in my work. Life is messy at times and it is not linear, logical, neat nor tidy. I celebrate the beautiful imperfections of what it is to be human in my brand and it is my sincere hope that others will be inspired toward self love, inclusion and an elevated respect for the earth and humanity. My materials are largely recycled and ethically sourced.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The best places in the city are the places where there are the best people. Atlanta is of course an amazing music city with a diverse set of venues for all tastes and genres. For foodies, the options are also seemingly endless. Grant Park, West Midtown, Historic Districts, Downtown Decatur, East Atlanta Village, Virginia Highlands, Buckhead, High Museum, Scott Antiques- options are endless and let’s not forget the Beltline.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are several shout outs- Kristin Wilder my first jewelry teacher formerly of The Spruill Center for the Arts. I love her and thank her for the manner in which she welcomed my inexperience and passion and trusted that it could be transformed into respectable art.
Dallas Vinson of Dallas Vinson Jewelry Supply- my “adopted jewelry brother.” A dear friend, a teacher, a jewelry making cheerleader and an Atlanta entrepreneur selling jewelry materials and supplies.
Steve Harris- My husband of 32 years, a gentle encourager, friend and partner who assists me in stressful show prep as well as travel for out of state exhibits. Thank you for your endurance and support as I keep adding activity to our lives (which generates lots of work for you!)
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