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My Story


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 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 had three separate work spaces- a studio space for all of my planning, sawing, stamping, assembling, etc., my original garage space where I soldered and did my casting, and an upstairs space where I worked with wax for the casting.


I recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest and I absolutely love it here.  And I have now been a silversmith for about 15 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


Here I am, the woman behind Silver Sparrow Designs.

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


My dear sweet girls-June,  Hazel, and Dorothy

Archie (supposedly half Basset Hound/ half Australian Shepherd) and Louise (Shih Tsu)

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

The grand opening of my studio gallery!


Students making necklaces at one of my classes


Telluride Farmers Market!


The annual Christmas Bazaar at the Dolores River Brewery


Pop Up Shop in Cleveland, Ohio

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


Artisans of Mancos gallery in Mancos, Colorado

Silversmithing Class.jpg

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

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