Well hello there…it’s me, Monica Branstrom - your fellow MASSC member and MASSC Membership Chair. I have been making jewelry for about 15 years and I specialize in jewelry featuring sea glass (chunks of glass that have found their way into the ocean and have tumbled around for years and years gaining a frosty smooth finish). It was my interest in finding a way to do something creative with the sea glass I had collected that prompted me to pick up a torch. I started taking classes with Janice Lorber in Santa Barbara and continued with Deb Jemmott after I moved to south Orange County. Deb continues to be a source of instruction, support, and encouragement for me when I want to learn a new technique or need some honest feedback.
My style has more of a casual vibe to it and I am inspired by clean flowing lines. I use sea glass, sea stones, semi and precious stones in my work. I really like the dichotomy between sea glass and precious stones paired with sterling and high karat gold. I use a serendipity approach when I design a new piece. I almost never draw it out, and it works for me (most of the time)! I can almost hear a collective groan from all the jewelry instructors out there who are reading this. :)
I sell my work mainly through shows, my website, Etsy, and a few galleries. Facebook and Instagram have been sources of sales as well. What’s sitting on my bench right now you ask? Five custom orders…one of which is a custom engagement ring with a gold bezeled piece of blue sea glass paired with a small diamond. I hope she says yes. She will. I hope.
Balancing a family life and jewelry business is a challenge sometimes, but it’s worked out so far. And now that my youngest daughter will be going off to college this year, it will give me more time to dedicate to some other fun things such as the Metalsmiths in Florence weeklong workshop that I created for metalsmiths to join me in Florence, Italy for an amazing experience combining metalsmithing and living like a local in Italy (which means awesome food, wine, art, architecture, and gelato…did I mention wine?)