Meet Cadyn. She’s a jewelry designer and owner of Gathered. Her jewelry is absolutely stunning works of art. Words of caution-this is a picture heavy post full of beauty and inspiration!
Q. Tell us about yourself and your creative journey up this point in your life.
I was definitely raised in a creative home: both of my parents are professors at the Savannah College of Art & Design, so my sister Isadora and I grew up with ever-changing walls displaying photographs and paintings by them and their friends. I remember when I was little my mom made me a huge board covered in felt with little felt cut-outs of her own designs that I played with, sticking them onto the board, creating scenes for hours– which is probably where my love for felt and color began. My dad, a landscape photographer, instilled in me a deep appreciation for Nature and seeing things through an observer’s eye. I went to a handful of “art day camps” as a kid and sought out art classes in school, which all led to the obvious choice of going to the college I practically grew up with (SCAD).
And now to shamelessly sell myself: I got my BFA in Fiber Arts in 2005. I had an amazing opportunity to create a beadwork jewelry line for Trina Turk’s Spring Fashion show after graduating, I interned with Working Class Studio where one of my designs was picked up and printed on journals sold at Barnes & Noble, and then I attempted the near-impossible: making a living solely off my own beadwork. That lasted a year, haha… While I worked in various retail environments after college (ranging from a small, high-end boutique to the natural/alternative health world), I carried a seed with me: the idea to open my own shop, selling my work and, more importantly, supporting other local talent.
Q. Walk us thru your creative process. What inspires you?
Oh my gosh, it may be easier to say what DOESN’T inspire me. But, in a nutshell, I’m excited by Nature: the plant and animal worlds; mycology; both microcosmic and macrocosmic images; geology; the land, the sea, the stars; the chemistry of change. I extract designs from either photographs I’ve taken or a culmination of imagery I’ve come across while researching words like “rust” or “constellation.” My sense of color comes from my Color Theorist mother, and my patience for beading comes from my Zen Buddhist father. My gravitation toward questioning existing practices and thinking outside the box is energized by my Philosopher sister. My partner, Drew’s, artwork and dedication inspires me– we both tend toward extremely time-intensive processes illustrating abstract ideas. Sometimes I feel like I’m just this sponge-vehicle for other creative energies around me.
Q. Where can we find your jewelry?
At Gathered, of course! Sorry, I had to say that… I also currently sell my work at the Loft gallery in Culpeper, as well as my personal online shop (www.cadynspeziale.com).
Q. You opened your shop, Gathered, a little over a year ago. Tell us about the shop. What made you take the leap to open it?
I’m not sure what ultimately made me decide “This is it, it’s time.” I had taken a break from selling my work for a few years and it was suddenly just necessary to embrace the creative process again. I spent a year doing a self-imposed project of creating one piece of bead work a week, and before I knew it one piece wasn’t enough. I was making two pieces a week (each bracelet involves roughly 6-7 hours of beading, then an additional hour for finishing), on top of working 30-35 hours a week at the natural foods store. Finally Drew and I decided, after many conversations, breakdowns (on my end), and number-crunching that if I didn’t try this idea of a shop now I would never do it. We don’t have children yet, so the financial risk seemed worth it. Plus, we grow and forage a lot of our own food, so eating well is a low-cost luxury that my partner makes sure is a priority for us. My mother-in-law Ann lives in Front Royal, so she and her husband have also been a tremendous help through the whole process. To test out my idea, I hosted the first incarnation of Gathered as an Open Studio at our home.
Q. While you aren’t running the shop, designing and making jewelry, what could we find you doing?
Eating chocolate! Drew and I also run a raw herbal chocolate business called Immortal Mountain chocolates from our inspected home kitchen (www.immortalmountain.com and facebook.com/Immortal-Mountain). We sell it online and at Gathered, Better Thymes Natural Foods, Happy Creek Coffee & Tea, and Heritage Hollow Farm Store. I also do what I can to help Drew with our forage garden (usually assisting with harvesting, drying, and preserving), and I LOVE hiking. Good thing we live in the mountains!
Q. What are your future goals?
I plan on taking Gathered as far as I can, at the very least to a point where it is sustaining us as a family. I opened in April 2013 and already I’ve had such a positive, welcoming response from locals and travelers alike that I am so grateful for. I’m excited to say that I’ve gone from supporting about ten artists in the beginning to more than seventy now, the vast majority of which are local, or at least Virginia makers. Drew and I are also discussing expanding Immortal Mountain to include herbal tinctures from our land, as well as dried herbs and plant starts (all of which will be available at Gathered in the future…) And I’m of course going to continue with my beadwork. I don’t think it’s possible for me to have just one single focus in life. There’s too much to explore!
Q. Where can we follow you?
on Instagram as gatheredshop.
I also have a personal Instagram account as cadynspeziale where I post photos of my own work and inspiration I come across
and a sporadically-tended blog lifeembellished.blogspot.com.