My first collection of handmade ceramic jewelry is a bright, wearable ode to joy. Each necklace and pair of earrings is one-of-a-kind.

The process:

It starts with a slab. After rolling out a big ol’ lump of clay, I'm left with a flat canvas that becomes the foundation for everything. I have a selection of shapes I like playing with; I cut out as many of these as can fit, then find new forms in the scraps that remain. 

I finger-smooth all edges and surfaces, then stamp one side with an irregular pattern that comes from a very special ring.  The ring was made by my grandpa—a dentist by trade, and jeweler by talent—for my grandma many decades ago; he took a small molding from the roof of the first house they shared, then cast it in sterling. (I wear it every single day.) 

The set of greenware—unfired stuff—is bisque fired. 

Once everything’s out of the kiln, I take stock and start grouping miscellaneous pieces together, a batch for every color I want to use: Sunset Red, Pumpkin Orange, Sun Yellow, Holiday Green, Royal Blue, Caribbean Blue, and Plum Blush. A couple thick coats of glaze later and they’re ready to be low-fired again. 

After this second round in the kiln, I lay out the whole lot on a table like a puzzle fresh out of the box and began to arrange—and rearrange, and rearrange, and rearrange—mix-and-matching until unique necklaces emerge. I mark a little dot where each piece will join together and drill small holes with my trusty Dremel. The backs get sprayed with a triple-thick lacquer before I make the connections with silver jumprings or a series of knots and attach a sterling chain or length of leather. Boom.