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October 15, 2019

I’m often asked how metal became my preferred medium, and jewelry my art form of choice.

Initially, I went to Virginia Tech to become an architect. I used to wander around the studios late at night looking at other people's creative spaces. I remember I became mesmerized by one woman’s studio where she had about 30 models of a shoe on the wall. In my mind, it made so much sense that you could pull a shoe off the wall and literally hold the model in your hand. That’s when I decided industrial design (also called product design) was what I wanted to do.

Jewelry was always a hobby of mine. Even as a small child, I was always making things that I wear or touch. I lost track of time making elaborate woven bracelets and collaging the walls of my bedroom. At the time, I had no idea my creativity would be the driving force of my future career as a designer.

I still remember some of my very first sales…I made several pairs of silver hoops, just slightly hammered. I began with just a half day course learning how to fuse silver. I made 5 or 10 pairs and brought them with me to a street festival here in San Francisco. I couldn't believe how quickly they sold out. That’s when it clicked. I realized people wanted pieces that they wear everyday and that's when I started working almost solely in metal.

People want simple pieces that they could wear every day. They don’t have to think about what outfit it goes with… it just works. It's a piece that becomes an essential part of their wardrobe, and a signature part of their unique style.

Personally, I like to make a subtle statement in all that I do. Some of my favorite CMD pieces aren’t too far off that original hoop design. I call them my “grocery store hoops,” because I always like to have a pair of earrings when I leave the house, even if running out to the store. A simple pair of earrings makes me feel feminine, powerful, and put together. Truth is, I dress in a pretty plain palette; I wear neutrals and basics most of the time. Varying layers of simple, elegant, classic jewelry is my go-to style. It makes for one of my favorite conversation starters, too.

After over 14 years in business, I’ve realized just how much jewelry means not only to me but to my customers. When someone tells me they purchased a CMD piece that they wear every single day…I feel like I’ve done my job as a designer.

Colleen's Signature

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