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13 January 2016
It's a new year and I've moved into a new atelier! I've got a fresh space to continue to grow this little jewelry dream, make more beautiful pieces and meet more wonderful faces that inspire me to keep doing what I love.
I thought that when the time came to relocate my studio, I would be more emotional and more sad, but the feelings have been just the opposite. I've felt a sense of peace, and a lot of excitement. Kinda the same way I felt on my wedding day... like everything was falling into place and happening just as it should.
Along with the new year, new studio and new jewelry, I will be adding new stores to my list of "where to buy"! I am thrilled that more boutiques beyond Myrtle Beach will be carrying my line for their customers.
As for all of you, my dear clients, I will continue to operate my studio by appointment only so that I am able to give you my undivided attention during design consultations and private shopping sessions. I truly value the one on one design process and think that you deserve a unique space without interruption when creating or finding something special. I look forward to our time together in this beautiful new year! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued love and support!
A new year, for most people, always starts with new resolutions. I chose instead to reflect. Last year, in just my third year of business I started off with really high expectations and quickly became doubtful, anxious and almost burnt out. I was going in a million directions and saying yes to a lot of new things. I was giving it all a try and in doing so, almost gave out completely. I realize now while I was learning so much about other aspects of my business, I had quit learning anything new when it came to my true love of making jewelry. Its hard to explain, but even though I was taking in more jobs and producing a lot of new pieces, the time at my bench didn't allow for playing, practicing and perfecting. Some jobs felt more like deadlines and I was losing some of my love for it all. That was frightening to me, because I can't imagine doing anything else besides making jewelry.
I was in jewelry school for almost two years with my teacher, Eddie, over my shoulder and guiding me every step of the way. When I moved home, Eddie and I were miles and miles apart and for the past three years, I have tried to do it all on my own. I call Eddie every now and then to ask questions and send him pictures of projects that are giving me a hard time, but for the most part I have relied on myself to figure it out. I have told myself many times that I didn't need to call and "bother" anyone, even Eddie. I should know what to do. I was in school for two years. I need to figure it out.
All that gibberish is my lovely little ego talking. She tells me I don't need to ask for help. Asking for help would be a sign of weakness. She is wrong. Two years ago, I took up yoga. The first thing I learned in the very first class was to leave my ego at the door. Apparently, I had been picking her right back up on the way out. When I look at my yoga practice I give myself so much more freedom to learn. Some days my body won't let me go deeper in the poses, sometimes I need adjusting from my instructor. I am more compassionate with myself there. My yoga teachers are continuously learning from other yoga teachers. After 20 years of practicing, they still go to learn new things and deepen their practice. They have their own gurus. The lightbulb in my heads turns on... Why haven't I given myself the same compassion in my business? Where do I find someone local to help me? Will they be willing to help me?
These are all questions that were answered towards the end of 2014. A friend of mine's father is a local jeweler and he has been telling me for quite sometime to come by and meet his dad. I always said, "yeah, sure, thank you". My pretty little ego told me not to "bother" him. One day last fall I didn't listen to her and I called my friend. I went to meet his dad and that day, Mr. Michael Clayton became my local teacher, mentor, my jewelry "guru". Over the last few months, he has been willing to give me his time, to show me ways to better my craft, teach me things I didn't know, and help me become a better jeweler.
I have fallen in love with jewelry making again and moving forward I will give myself the same compassion in my business as I do in my yoga practice. I will ask for help and allow myself to learn and to grow, to take each day as it comes, work with Mr. Clayton when he's available and be a sponge for as long as he will allow me to be. I know that the more I learn, the better I will become and the only limits in life are the ones I put on myself. I'm excited for what 2015 has in store and I hope that like me, you will never allow yourself to stop learning. To all my teachers who have helped me become a better version of myself and given to me their time and wisdom, I am truly grateful.
05 September 2014
"Joining People Through Jewelry" was the slogan that I used 6 years ago when I came back from Uganda with three bags full of Ugandan paper jewelry and a will to sell it all to raise money. The philanthropic spirit in me has always been at the core of whatever I do. "How can I make something that can help someone else?" "Will this inspire others?" "How can I give back?" What is the purpose of life if we aren't working towards making this world a better place for ourselves and for others?
Joining People Through Jewelry 2008
With my little "Joining People Through Jewelry" campaign, I was able to raise over $7,000 for my friend Susan whom I met while I was in Uganda! She had originally wanted to come to America with that money and study over here. Realizing that she could do so much more for others with that amount of money in Uganda, she used it to build the foundation for what will be a school for pastors. This is what life is all about.
Fast forward to the summer of 2013 when Christina Lazarus approached be about making a bracelet that could be sold to raise money for our local Helping Hand. By the end of four months of working after hours to hand stamp and tie hundreds of bracelets, we were able to donate $4000 to Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach by the end of December. Lots and lots of local families had a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal thanks to locals and folks I have never met ordering our handmade elastic bracelets.
The Helping Hand Bracelets
These are the things that inspire me to keep going. To keep giving. Throughout the entire year, I am very happy to donate a piece of jewelry here and there for auction items and get involved with various fundraisers for local organizations. I know that I can't donate to every single thing and give to every organization but I feel that even the little things add up to be big things. If nothing else, it warms my soul.
6 years later, I am still joining people through jewelry. To finish off 2014, each month from September - December, I am going to donate a percentage of online sales from ashhoffmanjewelry.com to a different local organization. There are plenty of people and animals right here in our community who need assistance and we have some great local organizations who work very hard to make that happen. How cool is it to know that a piece of jewelry you bought for yourself or as a gift was made locally and is helping to give back locally? It's kind of a win win and will surely warm your soul too! If you aren't sure, just give it a try! Thank you in advance for your support, love and giving heart!
02 May 2014
30 April 2014
In just a few short weeks my baby sister, Jessie, the daughter of my mother and stepfather (there are 12.5 years and no other children between us) will be graduating high school. Come August, we will be packing up the car and sending her off to start college. Some days I don't want her to go. Other days I want to pack up and go with her. Most days, I want her to spread her wings out as far as possible and fly as free as a bird. Learn all she can. See all she can. And dream as big as she possibly can!
Lately I am asked "what is the perfect gift for a high school graduate?" One of my favorite pieces is the sterling silver wrap ring with a hand engraved quote. The next question is... "well what quote?" Oh goodness!!! Even at 30, these quotes light a little fire under me and make me want to take over the world!!! And they would be perfect wrapped around a silver ring as a constant reminder to your baby girl that the world is her oyster! So, here's to the class of 2014 and to my sweet little Jessie ...
ash hoffman jewelry hand engraved sterling silver wrap rings
photographed by Savvy Alli Photography
customize your own triple or double wrap ring
double wrap ring : http://ashhoffmanjewelry.com/collections/ash/products/double-flowers
triple wrap ring : http://ashhoffmanjewelry.com/collections/ash/products/triple-beautiful-mess
01 March 2014
A match made on instagram, I found Jenn (@jennsnails) and immediately fell in love with her work. Jenn, a fellow Myrtle Beach native, is an artist that does some of the most detailed paintings on the smallest of canvases…nails. We became insta-friends :) and a January trip to Miami inspired me to reach out to her for a jewelry collaboration project.
One of my all time favorite spots in Miami is Wynwood, a neighborhood north of downtown Miami bursting with color and graffiti from world-renowned artists. No bare wall exists in this community and for a little artist with big dreams from South Carolina, it’s a little slice of heaven. Wanting to translate those colors into jewelry, I immediately thought of Jenn.
Wooden bangles became the canvas and I gave Jenn a little direction and a lot a freedom to create one of a kind little works of wearable art. She has an incredible eye for quirky color combos and a steady hand for the straightest of lines. The former architecture student in me (got my B.A. in Architecture from Clemson back in 2007) envies the geometries that come from Jenn’s artistic mind. A lovely collaboration was born from the “painted wooden bangle experiment” and Jenn and I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Yesterday my dear friend, Allison from Savvy Alli Photography took our collaboration pics and I am just dying to see them! The wynWOOD collection will soon be for sale online and then will be off to Charlestion Fashion Week to make their debut. We hope you love them as much as we do! Here's a little sneak peek...
16 February 2014
“Isn't friendship amazing? At one time, our friends were just strangers to us. However, there was something special about these strangers; you felt a connection, something in common, a special bond, and your friendship began. What if, as we pass all of the ‘strangers’ in our lives, if we looked at these strangers as if they could be a friend? What a different world it would be….” ― James A. Murphy
I find this quote to be ever so true lately. I have a growing group of friends and many of them I have never even met face to face. Having this little dream of mine that is ash hoffman jewelry on etsy, facebook and instagram, I am continuously amazed at how interconnected we all are. The world seems so ginormous but is it really just a small world afterall?
Ruthie ordered a bracelet from me a few months back on etsy and just last week wrote to me after ordering a one of a kind locket that I had for sale in my etsy shop. She gave me some of the sweetest compliments and I was a presently surprised that she had actually taken the time to read the inspiration behind the piece. The piece had spoken to her and she found such a connection with it. It made my heart smile. Today I got another message saying that she had received the necklace and how much she loved it. She had visited my website and read all about my photo shoots and then told me all about her days in South Carolina and we reminisced together. It made me want to drive over to her house for coffee and just chat the rest of the day! The email with the picture of her wearing the locket just topped it off because it was the closest thing I had to meeting Ruthie in person! Now we are facebook friends and who knows what the future will hold!
So… the point to all these little scenarios is that we are more connected than we think! We are more alike than different. We have friends miles away that we may never know, but if we do what we love and share it with the world, the universe will send us wonderful people who love us back and I believe we will all be better for it. There is room for all of us to grow, make art and make a living doing what makes our spirit smile. Treasure each moment you spend with a stranger, because you never know when that stranger will show up again. You may end up being the best of friends!
05 January 2014
Many of us make resolutions each new year and while I have several (hundred) of my own, I’m going to try to stick to one main mantra for 2014…. “Embrace imperfection.” “Embrace imperfection,” “embrace imperfection,” “embrace imperfection.”
This mantra is what drew me to making jewelry 5 years ago. This week, while on vacation, I spent two days at my former jewelry school working on some new things and I was reminded of my beginnings there and what sparked this jewelry love affair of mine. Always a perfectionist, I was (and still am in some ways) obsessed with many things in my life being a certain way (I’m working on it one day at a time). As a teenager in school, I created a stress on myself just in taking notes during class. Every i had to be dotted and every t had to be crossed. I would only write my notes in pencil so that I could erase and if I made a mistake in pen, I would go home and re-write all of my notes until they were acceptable to me.
In architecture school, my perfectionism, in many aspects, worsened. I would agonize over the straightness of a line that most of the time no one could even see. Architecture critiques were everyone’s nightmare, mine included. Standing there amongst my peers, watching the red pen pointing out all of my imperfections all over my project, was agonizing. One professor wanted everything left justified, one loved the abstract, the other symmetry. “Embracing imperfection” was not the mantra at the time.
Just a few weeks into jewelry school, I knew I had found my passion. It was a place where I could accept that some days the metal would do as it pleased and I allowed myself to see the beauty in the process. My teacher would push me to make things as perfect as possible, and when left on my own, I would hammer the piece all over in a bit of rebellion. I wanted to put a texture on everything especially when he asked me to make it all polished and shiny.
I began ash hoffman jewelry just over two years ago. My hope was (and still is) that the men and women that bought my jewelry would appreciate the hand-crafted nature of my work; that they would find as much beauty in each hand hammered and hand engraved piece as I find joy in creating them. In 2014, I hope to continue to grow my little dream and continue to spread the love I have for hand crafted jewelry with this great big beautiful world. Thank you all for your support on this journey and in this new year, “embrace imperfection.”
04 December 2013
The first day I stepped foot into Studio 77, it immediately became my most favorite shop on earth. At the time, it was tucked away on the side of 77th avenue under a big tree. The windows had hand painted flowers or designs depending on the season and when you walked in, the shop had it's own amazing fragrance. Part of the aroma came from a cabinet full of pillar candles and anything wrapped in the store went out with the same delicious scent. A gift was distinguishably Studio 77 due to the hip wrapping paper and bows with the perfect mix of curly and raffia ribbon.
I remember the day Elaine, the former owner, called me to ask if I could come to work for her. I was a freshman in college and she needed help for the holidays. It was a dream come true and a day I had always hoped for. I think my first day of work, I wore my turquoise cowboy boots that I had just gotten for my birthday. I didn't realize at the time how significant this little boutique would be in my life and the imprint that it would leave on my heart.
It's been 11 years this holiday season since I began working at my most favorite shop on earth. The shop has changed hands since then, but I have always been able to call it home. And the delicious scent and distinguishable gift wrapping remains! Elaine and Tilghman (the current owner) have taught me so much. In their own special way, both have showed me what a successful business woman looks like. They've taught me how to go after what I want in life and have cheered me on the whole way. I could go on and on and on about all that I owe to both of these incredible women for the lessons and love they have given to me.
Today, as I finally made time to edit photos from my most recent trunk show at Studio 77, I began to reflect on all that this little boutique has brought to my life. I never thought on the first day I stepped foot into the shop I would, 11 years later, be hosting my own trunk shows and selling my own line of jewelry to the same local customers I helped wrap gifts for all these years. Now they are wrapping my jewelry as gifts! To most people, this may seem so small and insignificant. But to me, it's like my little dream unfolding and coming true. I find it so incredible that on the 11th year anniversary of me starting at Studio 77 and the 2nd year anniversary of starting my own business, ash hoffman jewelry, I host my 3rd trunk show at my beloved boutique.
Elaine and Tilghman, I can never thank you enough! My cup runneth over.
Studio 77 gifts and accessories is located at 5001 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 29577 843.497.5931
11 November 2013
Over the summer I was asked by a fellow Myrtle Beach native to be a part of raising money for a local non-profit. I had heard of Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach and before she could even finish telling me about it, I knew I wanted to help her however I could. She wanted me to come up with a piece of jewelry that we could sell to raise money for the organization. We ran with the idea and "The Helping Hand Bracelet" was born.
By September we were carrying them around and selling them out of our purses. Over $600 was raised in the first month and as we approach November, we have collected over $1000 for Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach. But why stop there? With Thanksgiving around the corner, we are eager to feed as many local families as we can. It has been put on our hearts that what we are doing is making a difference in someone's life, even if it's just a meal for one day.
For this week, November 11- 16, we are asking for folks to order a Helping Hand Bracelet online. For every order received, I will put your name in a drawing to win a piece of ash hoffman jewelry (winner announced on Sunday, November 17). It's a win win! ONE bracelet FEEDS ONE family. If you are thankful this year to have food on the table and be able to gather around with your loved ones, then do your little bit of good by helping to provide that for someone else. Pay it forward. Spread the love. THANKS in advance.