Local Spotlight: Wendy Stillman Jewlery
Meet Wendy Stillman, a local wife & mother in Manhattan Beach who has turned her love of jewelry into a sparkling business, filled with handcrafted sterling silver and 14kt gold. We met up with herat her studio in Manhattan Beach to get the scoop and see how our local community has inspired her stunning, hand carved pieces.
1. What's the story behind your jewelry?
I got into jewelry when I was in 4th or 5th grade, I started with beading because there was a bead shop down the street from my house in Laguna Beach. I loved it so much that I just started making jewelry every since. I then went to art school and started traveling a ton and ended up living in Europe. I was very inspired by the old metals and designs from there, especially in Florence, Italy. About 10 years ago I started doing it as a business and I haven’t looked back.
2. What goes into making your jewelry?
The process is called "lost wax", and I am essentially working on the metal before it’s metal. So I work with wax first, melt it and shape it into my design, then once I perfect the designs with my heating pens, dentist tools, regular and jewelry tools, I make a mold of the wax. I then get the mold filled with sterling silver, by shooting the precious metal into the mold and let it cool, out comes my design exactly the same every time. I also make a bunch of copies of my original wax pieces so I can go back to tweak my designs to make one of a kind pieces as well.
3. What brought you to the South Bay and how does it inspire your work?
I have lived in Manhattan Beach for 15 years now and I moved here because of my husband, he works here in L.A. I have lived all over the place in my life and I love it here. And yes, I think living by the beach and being a beach person growing up has really inspired the textures and designs I make, they are very natural in the way they look. I always try to shoot pictures of my pieces in natural elements and with a beach vibe, so the South Bay plays a huge role in inspiring my work. This is the only place I could live in L.A. because I love being by the beach and it is a community. I go to the market and I know everybody here, where in other parts of Los Angeles you walk by the same people hundreds of times and you don’t know them.