Designer Spotlight: Christine Thatcher

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

I've always been artistic, as a young child, drawing horses over and over until I got it just right. Out of high school, it was a natural progression for me to study graphic design in college. I've been a graphic designer since age 21. Although a creative field, I think jewelry design appealed to me as a very tactile way to express myself. I have always enjoyed my career, but it's a very electronic, 2-dimensional medium these days. From the very first earring I made, I've been hooked. The process of developing my jewelry brand and it's presentation is as much fun as making the jewelry itself. There is nothing quite like getting lost in time, working on a new design and then sharing it with your fans.

How did you get into jewelry design?

I've been designing jewelry since 2008. I remember on the way to a women's retreat, stopping at a bead store with a friend and taking FOREVER to figure out what to buy and having no idea how to visualize the final piece. The first year, my jewelry “line”, if you could call it that, was a bit of this and that. Experimenting, trying new things and taking classes. In early 2010, I decided to focus on a particular style, and the brand Christine Marie Studio was born.

What makes your collection unique?

Because I work with what's old and vintage and already one of a kind. Sometimes I hold on to my prized vintage baubles, worried that what I make needs to be worthy of it's individualness. My collection feels cohesive, despite the wide range of baubles, finishes and components I use.

What are your inspirations?

I'm inspired by vintage fairs. I just love shopping them. Chippy, loved, shabby old things. Bits of broken jewelry, rhinestones, old brooches. Downtown Abbey and Jane Austen (I'm always pausing and looking at the jewelry). I'm a bit of a farm girl, growing up with 3 horses of my own and sharing a barn with my dad and his old vintage cars (I'm not sure he ever finished one). I'm pretty sure that is where my love of chippy, rusty, well-loved metal things comes from. I love taking what's old and reworking it into a statement piece.

How are you making a difference in your life?

As someone who is very allergic to nickel, I've never been able to wear typical costume jewelry. Almost all of my designs are nickel free and easy for women with sensitive skin to wear. I've recently adopted a new tagline { feel fabulous }. Based on the feedback from my fans – they feel fabulous when they wear my jewelry – everything comes together and feels put together. I like being apart of helping other women stepping out into the world, feeling that way.

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

My house and studio are somewhat similar to my jewelry. I love shabby, old paint, white on white, old metal. I joke that my style is “French Industrial”. I have an old wardrobe in my living room, a closet literally ripped out of house (it still has floor boards attached on the underside and is lined on the floor with papers from the 1930's), the door is full size, the piece is huge. I love the paint on it, it's probably over 100 years old and there is no way to replicate the layers of paint and wear. I think my jewelry is just an extension of the styles that I love to have around me.

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?

I struggle with losing the mentality that my jewelry business is secondary to the rest of what I do. It always seems to come after, when everything else is done. My biggest success? The more I niche and push the limit on my style and my designs, the more success I have. The more I tap into myself, rather than look at what others are doing, the more creative I become.

About Christine

Christine Thatcher is a wife and mother of 2, with a day job as a web designer, and a passion for creating jewelry when not doing any of the above. Her vintage bohemian designs balance bold color, vintage findings, unique finishes and mixed metals. She's been designing jewelry for about 4 years and in 2010, started the Christine Marie Studio brand.