Until 2010, local jewelry designer Joanna Morgan treated her craft as a hobby. But that was the year she left a finance job to go after her dream. (As a side note, I'm always amazed by how many hands-on creative types come from the finance world.) With her current collection, Scavenger, Morgan takes trinkets she's collected and renders them in brass and silver—tiny seeds and sticks and flowers cast into permanent wares.
Get to know the charming Polish-born designer below. Looking for a quick way to scoop up a Morgan-made piece? Find her work at the 95 Yesler Holiday Pop-Up and the King Street Makers Market, two weekend popup shops on December 4 through 7.
Shop Talk: What neighborhood is your studio in?
Morgan: "My studio is located in Pioneer Square. It reminds me of Europe, where I grew up, and a little bit of Tribeca in NYC. Its brick buildings and cast-iron store fronts have a lot of character. And it also happens to be the current 'it' area of Seattle, with new restaurants and shops popping up each week."
What is your earliest memory of designing?
"Whenever I get asked when I started designing, I joke that a daisy chain was my first 'piece' when I was about 3 years old. But jokes aside, I grew up in communist Poland, so if you wanted to be a bit fashionable (and what woman doesn’t?) you quickly learned to saw, knit, crochet, and make your own accessories. Growing up with so little taught me to be creative, and also to invest in quality.
As far as calling myself a designer, it happened fairly recently. I introduced my first collection in 2010."
What do you do to get yourself in a creative or productive headspace when you're feeling stuck?
"I always loved museums—so I visit one, whether it’s actually going to one or opening one of my art albums, looking at works of art. Taking my dog for a long walk also works. There is something about not being bothered with computers, phones, and email, so your mind is free to roam, and ideas start popping into your head."
What are five things you can't work without?
"Coffee, natural light, my rocks, shells, sticks—all my favorite things around me, plus the absence of disruptions, and daily yoga."
What is your favorite thing about your studio?
"I have had a dedicated space to craft my jewelry since January of this year, and now I can’t imagine how I could do anything without it. The moment I walked into the space I knew it was right. It’s spacious and bright, with tons of natural light. It has the right 'vibes.' I love being there."
Where can we find your products, and where would you like us to be able to find your products?
"There a few stores around Seattle and the US that carry my designs. The entire collection can be shopped either on my website, or in my Seattle studio (open by appointment).
If I had magic powers, in Seattle, I would love for Baby and Co, Les Amis, Totokaelo, and Twist to carry my jewelry. Anywhere else: Opening Ceremony, Ikram, and Barneys."