Erin Essiambre from Salt water points combines the delicate and ornate art of hand embroidery with the whimsical charm of handmade jewelry. And its beautiful embroidery designs just might take you back a few decades. Its unique stitches embody a retro-yet-modern approach to traditional craftsmanship, with a nostalgic aesthetic reminiscent of the distant groovy ’70s era. Born from a simple design of a black and white outlined silhouette – later dubbed “Retro Girl” – that incorporated splashes of warm color, her distinctive style has since evolved to take on a life of its own.
“The more I leaned into retro styling and 70s tones, the more I felt like I was starting to find my own unique style!” Essiambre tells My Modern Met. “I find inspiration from everywhere, but mainly from music and fashion. When I listen to Fleetwood Mac or ABBA, I like to try to transfer what their music makes me feel into an embroidery design!
Essiambre’s innovation didn’t stop there. With a sister jewelry artist, embroidered jewelry was always something she wanted to try. But the budding embroiderer first started by making more traditional pieces to display in wooden hoops. “I loved the pieces I had created, but I kind of wanted to make them wearable art,” the artist explains.
“This simple idea led me to experiment with the idea of embroidered pendants. At first I tried to embroider my most intricate designs onto a pendant, which was unsuccessful because the space on the face of the pendant is much smaller. I started toying with the idea of just taking my favorite aspects of each design and translating them into a pendant, which is how I still create new pendant designs to this day. !
Each of her lovely embroidered pendants is made with the utmost care and attention. The process of making handmade jewelry can already be complex enough, but bringing embroidery into the mix adds a whole other element. After coming up with an initial design, Essiambre then gets to work on the actual stitching. And even with an area of no more than a few centimeters, each pendant can take a few hours to complete.
“I really like to take my time and make sure every stitch is perfectly placed to bring the design to life!” said Esseiambre. “By the time an embroidered pendant is finished, there is so much love and attention to detail that I sometimes find it hard to part with it!…Being able to create something from my heart and seeing customers buying it and welcoming it into their own lives is truly rewarding and fulfilling, I never thought this was the path my life would take, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Erin Essiambre of Salt Water Stitches makes beautiful hand-embroidered jewelry.
Each embroidery design for these lovely necklace pendants is hand sewn by the artist herself.
My Modern Met has granted permission to use Salt Water Stitches photos.
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