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It glows

Celebrating a low-key New Year may have felt very different from the other holidays we’ve muscled through in 2020. But a virtual, at-home celebration was a small sacrifice to keep us moving toward the promise of a post-COVID 2021. And as we’ve learned during the last twelve months, just because we can’t be together physically doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge in the fun and pleasure of getting dressed up. You may not want to don the usual novelty glasses or glittery party hat, but trust me when I say that a pair of big, festive earrings will lift your spirits all the same.

This issue, I have the pleasure of highlighting the work of local polymer clay artist Champagne Brown and her jewelry company POP! Shop Jewelry. Charm is the key ingredient in Brown’s jewelry collection. Pulling it off in a way that still looks elevated and grown-up takes the right mix of whimsy, nonchalance, and polish, but she makes it look easy. There’s an offhand sensibility in even her fanciest pieces. For Spring 2021, that includes a beautiful champagne bottle earring that has tiny specks of gold embedded throughout the design.

Those statement pieces beg to be seen and photographed—in fact, if you had the privilege of wearing one, the first thing you’d likely do is take a selfie. So how does one pick the perfect statement earring? According to Brown, “It should be stunning but still easy to wear.” She adds, “no one wants their earlobe to be dragged.” And Brown is right, of course. The weight of an earring is always something to consider as much as the shape or the sparkle. Most importantly, as Brown points out, “one should desire to always be fabulous.”

Most of the POP! Shop pieces are extremely lightweight and perfect for everyday wear. Every single piece is unique, so there are no repeats. Brown always goes the extra mile, and it’s that attention to detail you can’t glean from photos that makes you fall in love with the jewelry just a little bit more.

Since Pop! Shop jewelry’s humble beginnings in 2019, Brown has doubled her business and her following. I asked her to describe a little bit of her journey.

What are the main subjects of some of the earrings?

The first thing you should notice about my artwork is the use of color to create a mood. I try to use colors that catch your eye and make you feel good in the process. The next thing you will notice are the unique shapes and sometimes textures that I use to really drive the point of each piece home. I really want you to feel like you are wearing a labor of love as well as a work of art.

Is polymer clay durable and accessible (as an artist and consumer)?

Polymer clay is a very strong material and very durable. It is also extremely lightweight, no matter how large or intricate the piece is.  Sometimes you will forget you even have earrings on! As far as the clay itself goes, due to COVID-19, manufacturers have been having a hard time pushing product out, which leaves clay makers like myself in a scramble looking for material to work with as of late. I am hopeful that things will get better in the near future.

Tell me about your inspiration.

My biggest inspiration is my mother. She is the one who first introduced me to the great big world of crafting and learning how to make things, and she really nurtured my love for being creative. To this day she will help me source materials and will sit with me at every market.

Where do you hope to be with POP! Shop Jewelry in the future?

I do hope that the POP! Shop continues to grow at the rate at which it has grown thus far. The dream is to be able to create more art and run my shop full time, and I’m getting there slowly but surely. I am continuously grateful for all of the support my city has shown me as well as the love from my ever-loyal, ever-growing customer base. I am excited to see what 2021 has in store for the POP! Shop!  

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