Christen Largent of bddesigns creates precious metal art jewelry, and a pair of her earrings recently made an appearance on The View!
She fabricates each piece completely by hand...no casting from a mold, no major elements are prefab, and all designs are her own or created in tandem with a customer to create something uniquely for them.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Christen.
I started into jewelry MANY years ago by stringing beads. Then it moved to wire-working, which I did for MANY years and ended up teaching it in a major bead store in Ann Arbor, Michigan for many years also.
I get bored very easily...I am always seeking out new techniques, new ways to do things, evolution in what I'm doing, so when I kind of hit the glass ceiling, so to speak, in jewelry making about 3 years ago, my father urged me to take a soldering class because that was the natural next step for what I wanted to do. Designs were running rampant in my head and I had no way of bringing them to life outside of learning how to solder.
So I took a class and the rest has been experimentation, playtime, fun, extreme joy, etc!
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Besides being with my family, I LOVE to solder. My favorite part of making a piece is to challenge myself with really complicated soldering techniques!! I love to see how far I can go without totally melting the piece down into a puddle of silver! I'm a masochist!
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Paperwork - I am SO not cut out to be a secretary! I ALWAYS answer messages promptly, but the little paperwork details are very challenging for me. I really have to buckle down and FORCE myself to get caught up on paperwork! Tax time is the WORST!!!
What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
My new earrings that I listed last week.
I very rarely keep my jewelry for myself (because I'm just too busy to justify it!) but I kept a pair of these. The other pair I made went to my sister, who will be wearing them on The View as she co-hosts on Friday!
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
A doctor or a writer. I have always loved the written word and I *used* to love the idea of healing people until I discovered that that healing frequently involves blood!!! Never in a million years would I have thought artist/metalsmith, even though my mom is an artist as well!
What other shops or artists out there do you love?
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the work of these shops and so many others:
There are SOOO many more!!!
What does your future hold?
Hmmm....I would love to continue to metalsmith...I'd also like to backpack through Europe and check out metalsmiths all over that continent! There are BIG dreams in that area!
In the semi-short term, I've been approached about a manufactured line of my work and while I still firmly believe in handmaking my pieces one at a time with MY TWO HANDS, given the right circumstances I may end up doing such a line in the future...but it would have to be the right deal at the right time.