Allison Craft - Pearl And Leather Jeweler Extraordinaire
September 21, 2010 by Susan Vallee
When I caught up with Allison Craft in her home studio, she was intensely stringing rows of gleaming white freshwater pearls onto a thin leather cord. Every few minutes or so she’d sit back, purse her lips and start stringing more. She was on a tight deadline – she had exactly 22 hours to create two necklaces for a Nashville socialite.
But days like this don’t seem to faze her. The busy mother of three described her life as, “wake up, work on the pearls, run after kids, put them to bed and string more pearls. I want people to become addicted to my work,” she said. “Have fun with it. Wear it, layer it, stack it! Enjoy it.”
She began her jewelry business innocently enough.
“I wanted jewelry and couldn’t afford it,” she said with a laugh. Soon friends were asking her where she’d bought her necklaces and bracelets and before she knew it, she was receiving requests from not only friends, but retailers as well.
Her pearls now seem to be everywhere. They are carried in galleries from Tennessee to California and were recently spotted on the Rachel Ray Show when “Raising Sextuplets” reality television stars Bryan and Jenny Masche (and their six children) appeared on the show.
Afterwards, they gifted the popular host with a necklace specifically created for Ray. She liked it so much that it is was then featured in the July/August edition of Rachel Ray Magazine.
Craft is thankful that the national exposure introduced a larger audience to her work, but she greets the newfound fame with a mixture of elation steadied by fear.
You see, Craft drills each pearl herself. As in every single one. It is a one-woman Allison Craft show in her upstairs studio. Each bracelet, earring and necklace is crafted with painstaking detail while her pet parrot, Bird Bird, looks on. No two pieces of jewelry are exactly alike and she challenges herself each day to create something truly great.
The recent creation of her online store, www.allisoncraftdesigns.com has had her in fits, but the busy mom seems to be balancing the demand for her work well.
Fusion Gallery in Seaside carries the largest selection of Craft’s pearls. Each week Craft delivers new necklaces, bracelets and unique pearl on leather removable pendants that you must see to believe.
New to the pearl on leather necklaces and bracelets are inspired metal charms. Some bear words to lift you up during the day, while others are in the shape of a leaf or feather.
Her colorful studio (and Bird Bird) are a source of inspiration for her as well. Like a dream come true for a kindergartener, shelves are filled with boxes of techni-colored feathers, buttons, shells and paints.
Spools of twine and brightly colored ribbon, a box of wigs, handmade puppets and little trays spilling over with pearls crowd her for space. When she’s not busy making her jewelry she’ll return to her art teacher roots and paint a canvas or make something fun with her youngest daughter.
“I really enjoy doing this. It allows me to stay home, but I tell you … When you’re the mom of three and trying to keep up with everything else, I don’t know who I am or where I am but I’m grateful.”
Allison Craft Designs available at:
Old Florida Outfitters
Watercolor Beach, FL 32459
72 Main Street
Rosemary Beach, Florida 32461
Ibiza Fine Gifts
4231 Harding Road
Nashville, TN, 37205
800 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71901-5309
The Green Door
32 Avenue D
Astor Home and Gift
Town and Country Village
855 El Camino Reel #109
Palo Alto, Calif
2409 Dawson Road
Albany, GA 31707-1323