Meet The Maker: Silversmith Rachel Rose Dazey
Our Dallas spring show is around the corner and we could not be more excited to welcome silversmith Rachel Rose Dazey! She is the co-founder of Dillon/Rose, which she owns with her husband and artist Seth Dillon Dazey.
Three years ago this month, the couple founded the handmade jewelry company which is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We chatted with Rachel to learn more about their beautiful business that focuses on nature-inspired pieces with a Western meets boho-chic vibe.
Before we get started, tell us a bit about yourselves:
I’m 29-years old and would prefer to milk goats than to party! I’m the youngest of three children and a mother to a two-year old girl and five-year old aspiring Ninja Turtle. Seth is 33-years old and loves long bike rides to other countries, books and camping.
What inspired you to start making jewelry?
I began making jewelry while living in Mexico as a way to support myself. I used a pair of jewelers pliers, wire and found objects like feathers to make simple earrings and necklaces to sell to tourists or trade for tacos. It was a practical solution to needing more income at the time but it later grew into a passion for silversmithing.
How do you both collaborate as a team to create your work?
I am the metalsmith for the team; building the pieces by hand consumes most of my time. I collaborate with my partner Seth on the design and finish of the work. Seth is also coordinating our busy travel schedule and managing the administrative side of the business so I can focus on the construction of jewelry.
On your website, it says that you use old-world techniques. What exactly does that involve?
My jewelry is fabricated by hand using techniques that have been around for centuries. One of my favorite processes is called reticulation which brings a beautiful, unpredictable texture to the silver. I heat the metal to the point where it almost melts, causing it to warp and take on patterns that resemble waves or wood grain. I use the overlay method to create contrast between this rough texture and smoother metals below, sometimes using copper or gold to emphasize this contrast. I often hammer, stamp or engrave pieces as well to create the patterns and finishes. Every piece we make is painstakingly constructed by hand. From forming to soldering and on to final finish, each step is an opportunity for me to ensure the high quality of my work.
What inspires your work?
I enjoy the spontaneity of the natural world and try to bring that flow and contrast into my work by pairing different metals and finishes. Nature eschews the straight line and finds balance in uncanny ways which inspires me to take an unconventional approach to my jewelry. I build pieces that channel the rough edge of rocks or the unpredictable flow of a stream and pair the asymmetry with textures and oxidized or brushed finishes.
We love your classic cuffs! How long does one take to make and what’s the process behind it?
The Forge cuff is drawn from a single wire then hammered by hand to create the faceted look. The ends have to be filed smooth and sanded after which we anneal the metal to soften it. This allows us to form it into the final shape on the horn of the anvil with a few more hammer strikes which also hardens the metal again. Once the cuff is formed I tumble it with steel shot to bring out the natural luster of the metal. Each cuff requires the amount of time it takes to become perfect, sometimes I can find a groove and whip out a batch in an hour, other times I have to slow down to ensure the highest quality. Building everything by hand means I have to pay attention to the work and myself, sometimes slowing down to make sure I get it right.
Do you make custom work? If so, what sort of orders to you take?
Yes! When I make a custom piece, whether a simple birthstone pendant or something more creative, I try to bring the inspiration of the client into the piece. I take what they love about the look of my jewelry and inscribe their personality. I have made dozens of custom cuffs, many necklaces and some very special bridal sets as part of my custom work. Often the client will want me to come up with a special design that only they will have and these are my favorite projects. I made six matching meteorite bolos for a groom and his groomsmen last year. I really enjoyed seeing the group share a set of unique and personal jewelry that brings them together.
What makes Dillon/Rose unique?
When you buy a piece from Dillon/Rose you are directly supporting a creative family that produces every item by hand. We personally make every single cuff, necklace, ring or set of earrings in our studio in Tulsa so you can know that you are buying the highest quality work. I appreciate the support I get from our clients as I work to build the best life I can imagine for my husband and I as well as our two wonderful kids. We look forward to growing our business and impacting our community by setting the example of what self-determination looks like in the creative arts.
How do you handpick the stones that you use?
My uncle has a vast personal collection of gemstones from which we get first pick. He cuts every stone by hand and has over 50 years of experience. The access we have to his collection is one of our greatest assets given the high quality of material and craftsmanship.
Is your work sold exclusively online, or do you also sell them at your studio?
My studio in Tulsa is open to visitors but we make the majority of our sales through events like Flea Style and arts festivals across the country. The website is open 24/7, which is a wonderful way for people to shop but we find that most people prefer to try on the jewelry before they buy. Most of our online customers are repeat clients that already know they love a design and just need another or a gift.
What’s next for Dillon/Rose?
We will be establishing a destination boutique on Rt 66 here in Tulsa soon. This will be a place for clients and tourists to stop in and see live artisan silversmithing demonstrations and shop our collection. Each year brings new opportunities to exhibit work in galleries and art festivals across the country. As our market grows we look forward to traveling more and are making plans to explore the international marketplace, particularly Europe and Latin America.
How would you describe your company in two words?
Who is your dream client?
Anyone who loves National Geographic.
What is your favorite kind of jewelry to make?
I love making jewelry that brings meaning into the life of the wearer.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with Lily Yeh, a Taiwanese artist who has done inspiring work all around the world.
Meet Rachel Rose Dazey at our Dallas spring show April 6th and 7th! Tickets are $5 and parking is free (kids 12 and under are also on the house). Buy your tickets now at shopfleastyle.com!