Handmade artisan gemstone jewelry, luxury wire wrap

Richland, Washington

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About StudioAskew

Sales 156
On Etsy since 2014

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In the beginning, joy . . .

In essence, I am not self-taught.

Everything I know about design, hard work, attention to detail, and perseverance, I have learned from my mother. I was raised from an early age to work with my hands, find SOMETHING TO DO, and to fully appreciate artistry and traditional women's work. And while I naturally, of course, didn't appreciate her quite as I should until I was 30 . . . I will say here and now that she has been the greatest influence in my life.

I've always loved jewelry. Partially because it is small and fussy and requires a meticulous hand to make -- but also because jewelry is such a simple way to radically transform how you express yourself in any given moment. It's kind of magical, like theater for regular people.

There's something about the materials, too. I've sewn quilts, thrown pottery, woven baskets, cut glass, knit socks and sweaters and odd things to put on kitchen appliances . . . but in the end, my hands are happiest with some wire and a pile of shiny stones.

I started selling jewelry in . . . second grade. During lunch. A friend and I made these really hideous chandelier earrings with electric blue and purple sequins, and we called them "The Peacocks." They were spiky and uncomfortable, way too large for children, but they matched perfectly with the neon, tie-dyed scrunchie everyone was wearing that year. We actually made a killing the first week, with record sales of about $3 (they were, like, 10 cents apiece . . . I'm sure the supplies cost our parents more than that). Eventually, we were shut down by the lunch lady.

About that time I was introduced to the loom and thus began what I call my "Lizard Period," where I made dozens and dozens of seed bead bracelets and anklets (it was the 80's, in case you couldn't tell by the scrunchie reference) with geckos in radical colors. They were . . . bodacious. I actually sold a few pieces to a little shop in Portland that I later learned was called a "head shop." My mother scored me my first big gig -- I had made her a heart-shaped peyote brooch with long, streaming seed bead tassels for her birthday that year. She was noticed by a shop owner in Seattle who inquired where she had gotten it. My mother replied, "I happen to know the artist personally." The shop owner purchased a few, and was pretty surprised that "the artist" was a 10-year-old with a 90210 T-shirt.

From there, jewelry making took a back seat to life: College (where I spent 6 months in Rome and majored in Classical Studies), trying to find an actual job after college when you've majored in such a thing, meeting my husband, going back to school for massage, starting a rather successful Thai massage practice, moving from the city to the desert, the birth of my son, and all the attendant chaos that follows.

This incarnation of my artistic career was actually facilitated by a broken arm. I am an avid tennis player -- if I am not in my studio, I am on the courts -- and I play daily, competitively and with GUSTO! Too much gusto, sometimes . . . hence, the broken arm. I found myself sitting at home with no prayer of getting back on the courts for 8 weeks, and was in the midst of a massive Pity Party when I discovered my dusty old bead box. Of course, I had only one arm at the time, so my capabilities were greatly hindered, and pretty much everything I made was scrapped. But the love was rekindled.

And here I am. My jewelry has grown up quite a lot -- it's amazing what materials have become available on the internet, and, naturally, as an adult, I have a larger budget than my $5 weekly allowance, so I get to work with some really fine stuff! But I'm still me. I still favor bright colors and I still work in concepts. I still look for new techniques and constantly am changing my designs. I'm still playful. My life is translated into my work: There's a lot of ancient world influences, some yoga and Buddhist inspired aspects, balanced asymmetry (a theme for any mother of a small child). In the end, though, I most hope that the joy I've always felt when working with my hands is fully tangible in each piece. And I hope to pass that joy onto you . . .

Shop members

  • Michelle Graf-Martin


Shop policies

Last updated on April 30, 2022

Here you will find truly handmade jewelry with a unique design perspective. I use only high quality materials in my work; all metals are sterling silver, fine silver, argentium, 14 karat gold fill, and 24 karat vermeil. I do so love my gemstones . . . and I think you will as well!
This is a labor of love, and I am quite meticulous about my workmanship. I find inspiration in absolutely everything . . . . literally. I've created pieces inspired by nature, architecture, poetry and music, ancient Rome, and once, the color palette of Lois' kitchen on "Family Guy."
Many of my design decisions are informed by, well, really good Thai food . . . like Thai cooking, I attempt to combine multiple elements to create depth and cohesion in a piece. I play with flavors of texture, finish, shape, flow and what I describe as "tension or something askew" (that'd be TOSA for short . . . ) in all of my work. I work intuitively and go where the wire or my mood takes me. This means that I pretty much always have at least 5 projects happening at the same time, and I love how working this way seems to flush out new ideas mid-project. My husband may say that my working style is chaotic since I tend to have little mounds of gemstones and random bits of shaped wire on my desk at all times . . . but I say that if the chaos actually works, you get to call it a "method." I rarely use sketches, and the few times I have, the finished product had evolved to look nothing like what I had imagined in the beginning. Plus . . . my son tends shred any paper left laying about, so I find it best to rely on my mercurial imagination.

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Visa Mastercard Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
Most of all, I want you to love your jewelry -- if something just does not work for you, I want to make it right. I accept items for refund or exchange, provided you contact me to let me know that there's a problem within 3 days of receipt. Items must be in the original packaging and unworn, and returned to me within 7 days, unless we have arranged differently. Shipping costs are nonrefundable. Custom orders can not be returned.
I accept Paypal, credit cards, and Etsy gift cards for payment.
WA state residents will be charged sales tax.
I ship domestically via USPS priority with insurance and tracking -- and I go directly through the post office. Tracking information will be sent to you in a convo once I have shipped. I ship within 48 hours, and the following day in most cases.

It is my pleasure to offer international shipping via USPS registered mail! Shipping may take 2-3 weeks, so please allow extra time for overseas shipping. In addition, please be aware that the buyer is solely responsible for any duties, taxes, or fees levied by customs in their own country. These vary greatly from country to country, and can sometimes be surprising. Your local post office can advise. Also note that I can not mark your parcel as a "gift." It's just . . . illegal.
Additional policies and FAQs
Convos --
Please note that I am a mama to a toddler, and I do not have a smart phone (invariably it would wind up in the air vent or the toilet!). I am on the computer periodically throughout the day, and will return any convos or answer any questions within 24 hours -- though I may not respond in minutes, customer service is paramount, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

Handmade Jewelry --
All items listed in my shop are truly artisan made; I design from my own imagination, then form, hammer, wrap and weave everything with my own two hands. While I frequently become absorbed in color palette, a shape, a particular design technique or a concept, all items are one of a kind. Please note that, unlike mass produced jewelry, handmade work is intended to be treated with care. It's not a good idea to sleep or shower in any of these pieces . . . and it is best to store them carefully and separately from other jewelry that may scratch your fabulous gemstones. Hand-sewn cotton pouches and padded gift boxes are provided for this purpose.

Cleaning --
Please use a jewelry cleaner that is rated for gemstones. When polishing your piece, take care to not twist or torque the wire wrapped stones -- some movement is natural, but hard twisting may crack the stones. I do tend to use a lot of 24k Vermeil elements (because that stuff is FABULOUS). Vermeil is high quality gold over sterling silver . . . polishing of this material must be done with a gentle hand. If your particular piece contains vermeil, please check to see that your jewelry cleaner safe for vermeil specifically.

Custom orders --
I would be most honored to design something specifically for you within my signature style. Custom orders may take a few weeks to complete, depending on the nature of the piece. I am quite persnickety about meeting deadlines, and will be honest and forthcoming about a realistic time frame.

Layaway --
Should you find a piece that speaks to your heart, but is just not quite within your reach right now, let me know. I am quite willing to work with you. Layaway is done on a case by case basis -- just convo me to set something up. Please understand that my prices are firm. I made the decision early on not to mark something up only to slash it by 50%. I price based on time and materials, and I do not manipulate the shipping costs.

I am truly grateful to have been given this life and the opportunity to work at something I find fulfilling. I am definitely aware that it is the support of my customers that makes this possible . . . So thank you from the bottom of my heart!