After long days of number crunching in the office and running around three kids between the ages of 7 and 12, local mom Stephanie Avedon somehow finds the time while everyone else is asleep to make jewelry, an elegant, interchangeable collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings perfectly suited for life on the go. She named it Venice Mama.
She’s been adding new designs and playing with various stones and metals since she started the at-home business in 2011, but every piece mingles together so cohesively it looks as though they were all designed in a single sitting. Perhaps this is because of the repetition of circles. They appear in different textures and sizes. Some are delicately linked together like a trio of magic rings. Others are found in the clusters of sunshine yellow citrine stones. The beauty of creating the theme, not intentional at first, managed to form a range of styles that are unique side-by-side but can be layered and layered for subtle to dramatic effect.
Unlike most circles, however, when you look closely at these, you can see where they begin and end. That's because they're not stamped from a machine, but made by hand. The seems of these perfectly imperfect circles reflect the human touch of a local crafter where Avedon sources her chains, which will be pulled apart and put back together again with her wire wraps, natural stones and other details. So why use circles with visible welding seams?
"In math a circle is perfect," says Avedon. "There are no bumps or bruises or any way to tell where a circle starts and ends. And we, as humans, love perfection. However, as humans, we are not ever able to achieve true perfection. It's not in our nature. The circles in my jewelry are the marriage of the perfect (the circle) and imperfect (the human). Each circle in my designs was made by someone's hands. And if you look closely, you can tell where the circle starts and ends. It is an ongoing practice for us human beings to live in the tension between striving for perfection and acknowledging our absolute inability to fully achieve it."
As a part-time yoga teacher, Spanish teacher, and math teacher, Avedon reminds herself just as much as any of her students to practice patience, to keep improving, and to keep going. As she sips a quick morning pick-me-up at Groundwork on Rose Ave. before heading off to manage finances for a local non-profit, Avedon removes one of the Venice Mama layers she’s wearing to demonstrate that it’s actually two pieces. It’s a mixed-metal necklace bound together by a pair of linked circles. It easily slips on and off over her head. No need to fuss with clasps, and it’s clear that the necklaces don’t easily tangle together, another huge time saver.
Venice Mama began as an outlet to quiet stress and balance the spreadsheet-heavy part of her routine with creative alone time, although she says, attending gem shows and learning to wire wrap with her best friend was really what kicked her creativity into overdrive. Avedon also wanted to design something practical and useful. She wanted to make the accessories she wished she owned.
“I make things that you can wear everyday,” she says. “They’re casual and elegant at the same time.”
She enlivens the collection with a playful pop of local color using natural turquoise, yellow citrine and blue sapphire. Not only are they beautiful, she explains, these stones are also a great price point. And that’s another important factor she always considers when sourcing materials for Venice Mama.
“I want people to wear my jewelry,” says Avedon. “I don’t want my pieces to be inaccessible to my peers.”
Most are less than $100.
As soon as she started to wear the chains and charms, her friends immediately took notice. She gave some away as gifts, hosted private shows at home – a charming 1911 original Venice Craftsman that her husband actually grew up in – as well as shows in the homes of her friends, and the customers continued to multiply. Now this Venice Mama is happily transitioning more of her jewelry-making time to the daylight hours, evolving the business ever so steadily, and hoping that other local mamas of any kind will enjoy all the time she’s put into helping them accessorize at a moment’s notice.