On my recent trip to the antique shows in Round Top, TX, I was introduced to the amazingly talented Sally Bass of Sally Bass Jewelry. She was vending at the Arbor International Antiques and Interior Design Show, where I help out with social media sometimes.
When I stepped into the booth, I was literally “jaw-dropping” over every display. Jewelry created with chunky beading, bakelite, large found objects (including a vintage child’s tea set and a wooden elephant head)…let’s just say, my creative senses were going crazy with all the colorful visual stimulation! Sally and her granddaughter, Azuri were working the booth and were just a delight to chat with.
Sally was born and raised in East Africa and has also lived in the U.K. and Australia, before heading to California. It was in California that she fell in love with creating unique statement jewelry that she has been doing full-time for around 14 years now. She officially launched her brand about 15 years ago. She loves what she does and is grateful that it has been able to provide a living for her all those years.
Throughout the years, she has done a lot of traveling to find components. “Anything that I love, I buy, take home, and make something wonderful out of it.” With that thought in mind, she creates wearable art with a mixture of vintage, antique and contemporary mediums. “I marry different cultures and eras… I’m not a purist. If I like it and can make it work, that’s all that matters to me.” I admire how Sally thinks out of the box when it comes to not adhering to the ‘industry standard.’ “I don’t think you can box in creativity.”
Sally has an immense passion for Bakelite. She’ll take it to carvers in Indonesia and have the carve an antler or whatnot and have it set in sterling, then brings it back to be sold. So, along with working with timeless Bakelite, she also has a penchant for finding small unique antiquities, such as 18th Century mother-of-pearl gaming pieces that were hand-carved and etched in Hong Kong for the British. But Sally doesn’t really care what it is, as long as she loves it. “I can pick up a piece of driftwood that I think has great shape and take it home and use it.”
Sally now calls Tucson, AZ home, as she feels like it’s an artistic and gentle place to be. She says she wants to step back and not be on the road so much; instead focusing more on optimizing her website and Facebook.