Silver Sparrow Designs has opened a new gallery and studio in Dolores.
Owner and silversmith Kristi Smith has spent decades perfecting her custom jewelry designs. She recently renovated the back of her home at 105 N. Seventh St. into an inviting gallery.
“It’s a space where people can come and shop, and learn about the process of making silver jewelry,” Smith said. “People have always been asking for that.”
Silver Sparrow Designs jewelry has a “rustic, sturdy” quality that customers love, she says.
“Each piece is unique. I don’t do castings where you make 100 of the same style,” Smith said.
The necklaces, earnings, rings and bracelets are made free-hand from sterling silver and incorporate semiprecious stones and nature themes. The pendants have artistic carvings, and some have an engraving of a literary saying or song lyric. Smith makes custom wedding rings too.
Her latest silver obsession is working with precious metal clay, fine silver that is molded by hand then fired into a kiln to burn off impurities.
“It’s a tricky medium, with a lot of creative opportunities,” she said.
Smith’s work has been displayed in art shows, local farmers markets and in galleries, including in Durango and San Francisco.
Her husband, Glenn, and three girls help out with the business, organizing displays, packaging orders and cheering Mom on.
“She has books filled with sketches of new designs. I help with the packaging,” says daughter Hazel.
The studio has become a refuge as well.
“It’s a full-time job – they know when the door is locked, I’m working on jewelry,” Smith said. “It’s therapeutic. I love everything about making jewelry and have so many ideas.”
She credits the community for encouraging her silver muse, including advice from well-known Dolores blacksmith Iron Maegan, and “Arkie,” a snowbird local who donated his silversmithing equipment when she committed to the craft.
“What is so cool is that the studio and gallery are in the same space. It’s inspiring and gives the customer a connection to the jewelry-making process,” she says.
Smith is hosting two gallery grand openings just in time for the holidays. The first is from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 9, and the second is from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 16. Refreshments will be served.
Silver Sparrow Designs is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment by calling 739-4271. Visit her website at silversparrowdesigns.etsy.com.