written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Chrissy Gemmill currently lives in downtown Frederick with her husband, Matt, their son, Marcus, and their dog, Tippy. Developing her passion for creating jewelry while still in high school, she went on to study metal-smithing at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
Everything sold by is handcrafted by Chrissy. “I work in sterling silver and stainless steel. I use a lot of semi-precious stones. I hand-cut and solder. I have a whole little workshop in my basement. It keeps me very busy!”
What is it about handmade jewelry that makes it so special? Chrissy shares the benefits of wearing artisan jewelry pieces.
* The ‘Feel Good’ Factor – Chrissy shares a popular saying — “If you feel good, you do good!” She continues, “We all want to feel good about ourselves. And, it’s FUN to wear jewelry!” It also feels good to know that a piece isn’t mass produced somewhere but is more likely a ‘one-of-a-kind’ find!
* Made With Love – Handmade jewelry is created one piece at a time. “It’s made with a lot of thought and meaning behind it. A lot goes into each piece.” Chrissy has pieces available in several distinct collections inspired by nature, folklore, myths and more!
* Good Luck & Protection – “For instance,” Chrissy explains, “a piece of jewelry that incorporates a gemstone with healing power…or a crystal. Or a stone that will bring good luck…or protection.” And, yes, there are pieces with horseshoes and four-leaf clovers!
* Adornment – People want to “adorn themselves in something beautiful.” Adornment of the body is as timeless as the pieces in Chrissy’s Antiquarian Collection of ‘modern vintage’ jewelry. Chain mail earrings, anyone?
Chrissy gives much credit to her peaceful and serene hometown environment for her entrepreneurial direction and success. “Growing up in Sparks, Md., there wasn’t a lot to do except to hang out in nature. At that time, there was no internet,” she explains. “I definitely think that helped me become the creative person that I am today.”
It’s easy to see the connection when Chrissy reveals that peridot green reminds her of the “moss colored forest floor” and some shades of turquoise bring “metal barn roofs” to mind. Her current jewelry collections include ‘flora’, ‘fauna’ and ‘moonflower.’
Chrissy also gives credit to the influence of having “very creative, do-it-yourself” parents. Her mother signed her up for a jewelry-making class when she was fifteen and her entrepreneurial spirit came to life. “I loved it so much that I actually started my own business when I was in high school.”
She honed her jewelry-making skills in a studio that was set up in the basement of her childhood home. Today, she works out of a studio in her own home. And, yes, it’s in the basement!
“It has worked out really well, being a Mom. I can work at home and always be there for my son.” She’s also able to work quietly in the night without disturbing anyone’s sleep.
Frederick’s Artists And Small Business Owners Spread Awareness of Autism
Chrissy’s son, Marcus, was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. “He is now seven and he is still non-verbal,” she shares. “What’s really important to me is not only his therapy and making sure he’s well cared for but also spreading awareness.”
She continues, “”I’ve teamed up with other artists and small business owners like The Muse to do fundraisers for his school program and for Project Lifesaver which gives devices to children who have communication issues. It’s like a tracking device.”
To be more specific, it’s a wristband radio transmitter that emits a signal every second of the day, 24/7. Each wearer has a dedicated FM frequency that allows tracking to be done instantly on-demand across several miles on land or by air. Searches can be completed within minutes, instead of hours or days!
Chrissy Has Learned That Keeping Track Of Time Is A Balancing Act
When it comes to time management, Chrissy says “balance is really important! When you work for yourself, you’re usually very passionate about what you do. That’s the only way to really be successful, I believe..is to be really passionate about it and to work really hard!”
“But, you can’t do that and sacrifice quality time with friends and loved ones. Since I started my business in my 20’s, I probably passed up some great opportunities to have some really wonderful life experiences because I really just wanted to work 24/7.”
Instagram Connects People With Similar Interests Around The World!
What’s the one App or resource that Chrissy doesn’t want to do without? “Instagram! I’m a visual thinker. Not only do I enjoy sharing photos of my creations but I also share things that inspire me.”
“I connect with people from around the world and I really value the experiences that I have with them because of this App! It’s actually something that I’d recommend that everybody join in on because no matter what your interests are, there are people in the world that you can connect with by hashtagging. And, I promise you, you’ll learn something and you’ll connect with other people. It’s been very valuable to me.”