Discovering Jewelry with Rita Sunderland

By , May 28, 2012 8:35 am

A transplant from Russia to the United States, Rita designs amazing jewelry and showcases it on her blog. Funsherpa discovers her jewelry designs, her love of Seattle and interesting tidbits about Russia through the today’s feature.

You have some great jewelry designs. Can you talk about your inspirations and thought process for your jewelry design?
I start with finding stones that are either good quality or have magical and healing implications. Most of my designs are based around the stone itself as embellishment to what nature has provided, when I run into a creative block my husband the artist usually takes me in a direction I would never have thought of.

Coming from Russia, how do you think the Russian culture has inspired your designs?
Most likely in the freedom that I have currently here in the U.S., it is great to have any opportunity that I want to reach for. My Russian heritage in my designs is clean and neat, life was more simple in Russia and I guess this is my way of keeping that part of my life close.

What are your favorite pieces? Can you tell us why you really like them?
Well I do have several pieces for now. When I was in a creative block my husband lead me to this truly one of a kind men’s necklace. We used mixed materials and technique in this design. Hemp and gemstone beads along with macramé and beading style to create this beautiful Dragon necklace

The second one will be my favorite design for women, earrings from my “Tango to three” collection.

And I’m very happy with the last creation I made for Jenny McCarthy. The autism symbol gold bracelet. Mixed technique and materials in this design as well.

How did you start designing jewelry? Starting a business can be challenging. Can you tell us about how you deal with the difficult times?
In Russia I started making traditional macramé curtains, tablecloths, etc. starting at the age of five. Once I came to the U.S. I needed a way to stay home with our child while still bringing in money for the family. I started making micro-macrame jewelry, soon my husband bought me tools along with supplies and asked me to try my hand working with metals and stones. Let’s just say that started a firestorm of creativity that is continuing to grow as all my designs develop. I really have not dealt with difficult times well myself, I have really relied on my husband and family unit to be my strength and perseverance.

Why are people so fascinated with jewelry? What are your favorite materials and what is popular these days?
From my view point jewelry represents your styles and beliefs as well as fashion, expressing ones individuality and tastes is what attracts most of the customers I have spoken with.I like rich colors, so garnet has become one of my favorite stones along with all the colors of sapphires. I like copper colors in metals, but there seems to be a bit of a stigma about non precious metals in jewelry as far as a business goes. As far as what is popular it depends on the season, right now we are moving into summer. Anklets and colors that go with light dresses and swimsuits seem to be all the rage.

What’s life like in Seattle? Can you talk about the contrasts between Seattle and other cities you’ve grown up in?
I only lived near Moscow before Seattle area, Seattle requires much more planning and patience. Everything here costs money and most businesses have shorter hours than Moscow. To fit everything into budgets and timelines is not something I had to do back in Russia. I love the life here, there are lots of parks close by and you are only hours from mountains, rivers, desert, and the ocean.

Favorite activities in Seattle? Best food in Seattle?
I think my favorite activity near Seattle is catching all the farmers markets in the area, great flowers along with produce as well as hand made goods and some really fun street performers. I love Amorn Thai in Mountlake Terrace and Taste of pho in Lynnwood and of course the Space Needle is always great.

What’s in your bucket list?
Taking a road trip across the U.S. and seeing more: getting to take a real vacation with my family somewhere warm, having another child, learning to cast my own metals, and really learning to just be happy with what I have at any given moment so I can just live in that moment without any distraction.

4 Responses to “Discovering Jewelry with Rita Sunderland”

  1. Joyce Yarrow says:

    You do beautiful, inspiring work Rita. Thanks for sharing your creative process. I’ll keep an eye out for your jewelry here in Seattle.

  2. Anna Harrows says:

    Wow. Your work rocks Rita. Keep it going!

  3. Thank you so much Anna ))) Love “your work rocks :)) I will… this week is very important. I’m participating in GBK’s MTV 2012Movie Awards Gift Lounge :) and for all my Facebook fans it’s a great chance to get my jewelry with wholesale price :))

  4. Hi, Joyce :) Nice to meet you .. I went back to see your site and now I want to read your book “The Last Matryoshka” I’m in North Seattle.

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