Whether you’re looking to buy a charm for a chain that’s been passed down for generations, need a few baubles to get started crafting your own jewelry or just want a small gift for a friend, handmade is always the way to go. Below, you’ll five five of the best accessory artisans the Steel City has to offer. Some are inspired by Pittsburgh itself, while others are quirky, kooky and wholly original – whatever their kitsch, you’re sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for.
Audra, a lifelong Whisky Hollow resident, played in the forests and creeks as a kid, collecting wood, rocks and small pieces of rusty metal. It’s these items that she utilizes in her beautiful pieces today – a happy marriage of industry and earth, with a very modern and Pittsburgh twist (check out her smokestack pendants). Audra’s designs are simplistic and well designed, and are completely unlike anything else on the market today.
Pittsburgh-based Emily Walley holds a MFA from West Virginia University and a BFA from the University of Wisconsin Stout – this girl knows art. Her Etsy page offers accessories made from wood, metal and acrylic ink, and her personal website features all of her fun and functional pieces (that can also be found in various locations, such as the Mattress Factory, Pageboy Salon and Boutique and The Shop in East Liberty). Minimel Design originally began as a bridge between her art and her handcrafts, and now you can wear a unique piece of Emily Walley’s inspired work.
A definite fan of the birds and the bees, eLmTree’s pieces prominently feature bright colors, animal and insect designs and vintage or hand-stamped adornments. If you prefer to see your accessories before you buy, pop on over to Wildcard in Lawrenceville to check out eLmTree’s fun and vibrant designs. Eryn, the artist, also utilizes glass beads, gemstones, sterling silver, brass and found vintage pieces in her offerings.
With studios in both Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, Michelle Sophia Sabol aka “Memphis George” has even shown pieces at the Oscars. Also a fixture at Pittsburgh annual Arts Festival and A Fair in the Park, this clever, highly skilled artist offers handmade, wearable art for the most avant garde of customers. Utilizing cast bronze, gold, carved camel bone skulls, gemstones, beads and Swarovski crystals, sterling silver and resin in her necklaces, bracelets, pendants and earrings, Memphis George will undoubtedly appeal to your sense of aesthetic and wild side.
An Etsy shop that greets its customers with “huffalo! hooray! fantastic enamel bling!” is undoubtedly a shop you’ll want to patronize. Primarily a metalsmith, Lindsey Huff of Huffalo is a made-to-order craftsman who utilizes enamel, vitreous enamel, copper, brass, metal and aventurine in her pieces. Affordably priced and uniquely designed, Huffalo is undoubtedly deserving of its outstanding customer ratings on Etsy.
Related: Best Vintage Stores In Pittsburgh