Monday, July 20, 2009

KAREN McCLINTOCK

14K Gold Bead and Labradorite Chunk Bracelet
from Zelda Collection
Today we are taking somewhat of a wild ride through the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery.
Canada.

By wild, I mean unusual but I would recommend holding on to your hats.  We will walk back through time, approximately 50 million years, to the

Canada is also the home of featured jewelry designer Karen McClintock.

Viewing McClintock's organic, custom jewelry evokes a flesh and blood embodiment of Mother Nature creating her baubles at will. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that McClintock's color combinations and stone selections are inspired by nature's palette.

"I mix colors that I would not initially consider but seem to work beautifully in nature," she says. Like Devon Leigh Sedlacek (USA), McClintock loves the rich hues, and rawness of semi-precious stones such as Red Fossil Coral, and chalcedony.

The monikers of her designer jewelry collections, like Old Quebec, and South of France, reflect her travels, while Forest Splendor and Ocean Blues reflect her fascination with nature's outstanding magnificence. Her gemstone jewelry is textured, unique and each collection has its own personality.

McClintock's career began in an unassuming manner; she knew nothing about jewelry design, or so she thought. There was a ripe, untapped side of her waiting to come out. Preparing for a garage sell, she saw some old necklaces and felt the need to improve them. She did and the necklaces were a hit.

From there her interest to learn more piqued, but only as a hobby. She set out to the craft department of Wal-mart and bought "stretchy string" at the suggestion of a store clerk.

A more informed friend of McClintock's, however, steered her in the direction of more substantial items like crimp beads and jewelry wire. She then began to add Swarovski Crystals, sterling silver, Mother-of-Pearl and antique Canadian coins.

Fine Silver High Cut Swarovski Crystal Drop and
CZ Ball Pendant Necklace
At her friend's prompting, she gradually began to consider turning her hobby into a business. Once the manager of a successful consignment shop, called Déjà New, McClintock was a stay-at-home mom of a blended family and she was looking for something she could do that worked with her unusual home life.

"I'm only in the city every second week and we travel every week, so I was kind of feeling like `What am I going to do?' I can't just clean house and shop because that's not me." She sold her first necklace to an admirer attending a water skiing tournament.

In 2005, she contacted Marlene Shepherd, the owner of a Canadian high-end garment store called Rideau Centre, to set up a meeting for Shepherd to view her beautiful creations. McClintock's uncanny ability to combine color and texture won Shepherd over immediately, and in 2006, she officially launched her jewelry line in six of Canadian retailer Holt Renfrow's 12 locations.

McClintock's easygoing personality and fearless approach to challenges lends itself to creating varied, original, custom designed jewelry. Recalling one of her customer requests, she says, "The buyer told me what she'd like to see and I did exactly that."

This aptitude led to McClintock's color-coded Bridal Jewelry Collection, "What makes my pieces unique is both the richness of colors and the styles that can be worn long after the wedding or celebrations."

McClintock has offered her beautiful handmade jewelry designs for inclusion in a book entitled "Our Lasting Legacy." The book features spectacular photographs of Canadian landscapes photographed by Canadian photographer Michelle Valberg, along with photos of distinguished Canadian women adorned in McClintock's boho-chic jewelry.  The women include: Jann Arden, Linda Lundstrom, and the Right Honorable Michaella Jean Governor General of Canada.

CZ Cap Pearl Earrings with White Swarovski Pearls
from Charleston Collection
The book serves as a potent environmental message and is scheduled for release this year.

Profits from the book will be donated to post-secondary institutions for grants and scholarships in the field of environmental studies.

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