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Check Out Jamie Everding’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Everding.

Hi Jamie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Saint Louis and I don’t think I will ever live anywhere else. I love living in a city where nature is still abundant in the nooks and crannies and you can be completely immersed in it in less than an hour’s drive. I grew up exploring the Missouri rivers and forests, watching my parents’ garden, and I knew very early on that preserving and celebrating nature would be important to me.

My other big passion is thrifting and reusing. I can never resist a good estate sale, flea market or antique store and I can count on one hand how much of the furniture I own came new from a store. I’m fascinated by the story of things, the lives they have lived and how they found me. I believe old things have a rare and unusual beauty and the power to elicit emotions. I feel like buying things locally in this way elevates the purchase into an experience and creates a more intimate relationship between the buyer and the seller.

In 2011 I was going to SLU to get my BFA in Visual Arts with an emphasis in painting. The last art class I took for my degree was an Intro to Metalsmithing class through the Craft Alliance and I was immediately hooked. I was surprised to learn how easy it was to manipulate metal and it opened my eyes to the possibilities of making artwork that was 3 dimensional as well as functional. After school, I continued to volunteer at the Craft Alliance, learning and experimenting.

Over the years, my commitment to a sustainable lifestyle has greatly influenced the way I make art. This has forced me to consider how the sourcing of my materials impacts the environment, the waste I am producing when creating, the methods by which I get my work into the hands of customers, and the message I send. I strive to attain resources as locally as possible to reduce my carbon footprint and support my local economy. I am constantly researching more sustainable techniques and seeking creative ways to reduce waste.

After years of patient planning, in 2018 I bought my first home in South City and turned my two car garage into my own studio. A few years and a pandemic later, I have my own little urban farm and Everding Studio is finally up and running. I no longer use any fossil fuels to get to work. Almost all of my work contains repurposed elements of materials locally sourced and second hand. My intention is to provide consciously made jewelry using sustainable materials and studio practices.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road may not have been perfectly smooth, but I would not have done one thing differently. Personally, I find that gravel roads have some of the best scenery and you can find some pretty cool things down a city alley if you keep an open mind. I think my biggest struggle is accepting everything worth doing takes time. When I really want something, like a dedicated workspace, I don’t want to stop until I have it. My garage was just a dingy four walls when I moved in and it has taken almost 4 years to turn it into a functional studio. It is still a work in progress-I still would like to install running water and, eventually, solar panels. But it will always be baby steps. Sometimes it is difficult for me to acknowledge how far I have come and I have to remind myself. Luckily I have an amazing support system of friends and family because I would never be this far without them, especially my parents and my partner, Sam. I feel very privileged to be where I am at right now and I have very little to complain about.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I believe it is my responsibility as an artist to be mindful of the environmental impact of my work. I find great value in materials that can be acquired locally, second hand or otherwise saved from the landfill. Most of my work is made from repurposed items such as antique silverware, watch parts, post-consumer plastics and paper, which are paired with recycled sterling silver and stones using traditional metalsmithing techniques. One of my favorite tools is a jeweler’s saw, which allows me to hand cut intricate designs into metal. I use this technique to make one of a kind spoon pendants. I strive to get the most out of the materials, sometimes using different parts of a single spoon for multiple pieces of jewelry. Then any scarps are carefully collected and either recycled or disposed of responsibly. I hope my work encourages others to find beauty and value in unexpected places. I am proudly committed to continual growth in my understanding of sustainability and I’m constantly making shifts in my business to reflect it.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I would l just like to say that we have the best dang city around and it warms my heart to see so many of our small businesses thriving. I have been delighted to see the growth of markets and popups in our community and I am so proud to be a part of that. If you aren’t shopping locally in Saint Louis, you’re doing it wrong! I would love to share where you can find me and many other artists around town this Spring! This Saturday, April 7th, I will be at 9 Mile Garden in Affton from 11-3 for an outdoor event hosted by PopUpSTL. April 30th I will be hanging out at Pass the Past, a vintage resale shop on McPherson in the Central West End. May 7th I will be at the first annual South Grand Art Fair. And Memorial Day weekend I will be returning to Art Outside at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood.

I will be sharing more details as they become available on my Instagram @everdingstudio

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