My Story

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When I was a young girl I found great pleasure in all things expressive and creative.  I enjoyed drawing and painting and also sewing, once my grandmother taught me how. I was also obsessed with rocks from a very young age and would spend hours with my best friend collecting and identifying them, and going to gem & mineral shows with her mother.  Then one day I accidentally discovered beading and realized I had found something I could really love.  I spent many hours at a local bead store, learning stones and techniques from the owner.  I made jewelry for everyone I knew.  As chance would have it, in high school I ended up taking a year long silver-smithing class at the local community college.  I immediately entered into a life long love affair with the shapes and forms and magnitude and POSSIBILITY of this amazing new medium.  I had found my passion!  I’ve heard it said that to find your purpose in life, go back to what you loved as a child.  I vowed to make a living making jewelry.

 

As things happen, I was persuaded to take the more conventional road and went to college to become a teacher.  The necessary equipment to get started silver smithing was just too costly, so the dream remained elusive.  I did work at the bead store throughout college and continued to appease my passion by making beaded jewelry, but always, in my heart, I longed for the silver. 

 

I got married to a wonderful man, Glenn,  and moved to a small town to begin my teaching career.  I continued to love beading and made a little money on the side selling my work.  After 4 years of teaching, I had my first baby.  I realized my career priorities had changed and I wanted nothing more than to be at home with her.  I decided to get serious about making my dream come true. 

 

After a lot of deliberate intention, it all came together.  An extremely generous man gave me most of the tools I needed and wouldn’t accept payment.  A dear friend loaned me a torch.  A neighbor who just happened to be a former silver-smithing instructor offered to give me lessons in exchange for a set of custom bridesmaids’ jewelry.  And so it began… 

 

I remember the first time I actually began to saw a sheet of silver in my new little workshop in the garage.  As the silver dust fell onto my knees I felt an extreme sense of peace, of belonging, of knowing that this is what I was meant to do, and I was finally doing it!  I opened an Etsy shop in the spring of 2008, and as I began to sell my jewelry I started to acquire more equipment.  (Though I have never replaced the little buffing wheel that my original benefactor made for me out of a dryer motor). Slowly but surely I gathered the necessary materials to continue my craft. A chance encounter led to a meeting with a generous woman who sold me basically an entire silver smithing studio starter kit, bench and all, and allowed me to make small monthly payments. 

 

I joined a local artist co-op in Mancos, and then had my work in galleries in Durango, CO and San Francisco, CA.  I also participated in many local farmers markets and art shows.  Then I opened a studio gallery space in my home, where I also was able to teach classes.  I now have three separate work spaces- a studio space where I do all of my planning, sawing, stamping, assembling, etc., my original garage space where I solder and do my casting, and an upstairs space where I work with wax for the casting.

 

I have now been a silversmith for about 13 years.  I have been able to be at home with my three daughters, Hazel, June, and Dorothy, while making a living doing what I love.  I have sold thousands of pieces to people all over the world, and I am just as enthralled with what I do as I was when I started.  Inspired by my life experiences, travel, music, and the natural world around me, I strive to create meaningful talismans that will empower the wearer, and help them to connect with their authentic selves.  I share myself as I share my work, in hopes of  normalizing some aspects of our lives that can be difficult to talk about, to perhaps help people to feel a little less alone. Creating my jewelry and sharing it with the world has been an integral part of my own healing journey as I navigate the peaks and valleys of this life.  A beautiful online community has grown around my Silver Sparrow Designs, and there are no words to explain how truly grateful I am for all of my amazing customers.  I’m so happy you have found your way here.

~Kristi Smith, Owner, Designer, and Creator of Silver  Sparrow Designs

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Here I am, the woman behind Silver Sparrow Designs.

This is my family~ my husband, Glenn; June; Dorothy; and Hazel, also Archie & Olive.

Supposedly Olive is a Pomeranion/ Jack Russell Terrier and Archie is a Bassett Hound/ Australian Shepherd.

This is my custom made sign outside of my studio gallery in Dolores, Colorado.

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The first time I had a successful cast, after many failed attempts!

The grand opening of my studio gallery!

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Students making necklaces at one of my classes

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Telluride Farmers Market!

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The annual Christmas Bazaar at the Dolores River Brewery

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Pop Up Shop in Cleveland, Ohio

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Installing my work at There's No Place Like Home in Durango, CO

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Artisans of Mancos gallery in Mancos, Colorado

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Where it all started, my silversmithing class at Arapahoe Community College, my senior year in high school.