Designer Spotlight: Shannon Chomanczuk

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A brief story of what you do and why you do it:

I love creating jewelry, it is a form of therapy and in the act of creating we heal not only ourselves but those that are connected to us through our work.
I believe jewelry is more than adornment, that it is a form of self expression, a symbolic token. I want the jewelry I make to hold special meaning, be it faith, love, family. I want to design the jewelry that makes the wearer walk a little taller, smile a little bigger, and feel more beautiful everyday.

How did you get into jewelry design?

My first memory of creating is sitting for hours with glue, sequins, and socks making dresses and accessories for my Barbie dolls. I graduated magna cum laude from Marist College with a Bachelor’s in Communications a focus on advertising and graphic design, and minor in photography. After graduation I met and married my soul mate, bought a house, and was promoted to lead teller at a local bank. Call it fate but I was eventually let go from my banking job. That was to be the best and worst day of my life. The sudden shock of being unemployed and free to make whatever decisions I wanted led me to follow a long time dream of doing nails and owning my own salon.
To cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with owning a salon and being an educator I began creating jewelry. At night I sit at my bench twisting wire, stringing gemstones, and fabricating metal into beautiful pieces of jewelry which I have been selling in salons, stores, and online for over 12 years.

What makes your collection unique?

My collection is special because complications during my pregnancies made me too sick, drained of energy, and tired to create anything. I could have let this time off get me down instead I used the time to feed my creative brain, take care of my growing babies, and recharge my own batteries. I emerged from the traumatic birth of my second daughter with a new sense of self. I was so full of love for my daughters I felt as if my heart would burst. Sitting holding my newborn skin-to-skin in the hospital with my older daughter and husband sitting beside me has been the single most wonderful moment I have ever felt in my 37 years.
Home from the hospital with both my daughters I turned the sketch I had drawn on a hospital napkin into a pendant, first in copper and then in sterling silver.
Almost a year in production the Embrace Collection is truly my vision come to light. Each pendant is hand forged from sterling silver, the bracelets and necklaces are strung with beautiful gemstones and sterling silver nuggets.

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What are your inspirations?

My girls are a huge source of inspiration for me. I love watching them learn, grow, and change with each passing day.
Things that light them up and things that touch my heart are sure to become inspiration for a new piece.
I am also inspired by nature. Because I live in the Hudson Valley, NY I am never lacking for beautiful mountain or river views, my studio overlooks untouched forest filled with beautiful old trees, deer, flowers and animals of all kinds.

How are you making a difference in your life?

By showing my girls that with hard work, determination, and passion you can achieve your dreams. By showing them the importance in believing in yourself and going after what you want. I have never been one to shy away from things I want. I have worked hard to achieve every success I have had in life. I hope that my girls will see that and be inspired by my story.

What’s something unusual about you that makes you “you”?

I am fascinated with bones and fossils. My family and I love to go on hunts for “treasures” in the woods around our home and on the property my In-Law’s own in Upstate, NY. I have a huge collection of these treasures and I am inspired by their shapes, colors and textures.
My girls and I love to sing and dance along to the radio together. We love to run, and play in our yard and of course go swimming together on warm summer days.
My favorite season is fall – the leaves, the colors, the apples, I love it all. I love to ride horses and was on the Equestrian Team at Marist.

What’s the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? OR What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?

“Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don’t give up.” ~Rachel Corrie
There were many days when I thought of giving up and never making jewelry again. Days when I felt that the business end was much to difficult. With the support of my husband and knowledge that following my dreams would be inspiration to my girls I enrolled in Flourish and Thrive Academy. With their shared knowledge I am better able to navigate the difficult business side of being a designer.

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IMG_7102I am a wife and mother of 2 girls. I am owner of a full service salon and work as a nail artist part time. I am a jewelry designer, and metalsmith with Emily and Eden – an eco-friendly line of jewelry handmade in the Hudson Valley, NY. All of my jewelry is made in-house from reclaimed, recycled, or ethically mined metals. I have been designing jewelry for over 12 years but my greatest source of inspiration is my daughters.

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