When Wendell August, a metal crafter formed in 1923, first launched its UpCycled Jewelry line in 2009, Tyler graduate Emily Hendrie (BFA Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM) found herself at its helm. She is currently the Wendell August Jewelry Studio’s Creative Director and Lead Designer.
Before she led the Jewelry Studio, Hendrie was just an art student looking for the right school.
“Tyler is such a fantastic art school, the teachers and the students help make it what it is today, and I wanted to go to an art school that would help me color outside the lines,” Hendrie said.
She now credits the support and programs at Tyler for her success since graduation.
“The foundation program really helped me gain knowledge of a wide range of tools, supplies, and techniques. Once I declared, they really helped me prepare for my career. I was pushed really hard from my teachers (and students) to do things others have never done. I loved that motivation and I have never felt so creative,” Hendrie said.
Not long after Hendrie graduated, she was found online by Wendell August and asked to do an interview.
“They found me on Career Builder by one little word on my resume: “Reposse.” I had learned the skill during one of my M/J/C-C classes at Tyler. After an interview with Wendell August I was hired as their first female craftsman in the entire history of the company. So, I worked with all men crafting metal giftware, holding my own,” Hendrie said.
The creation of Wendell August’s first jewelry line happened simply by chance as Hendrie recalls.
“One day during afterhours I took a small 5″x7″ tray from our recycling bin, which had a small imperfection. A piece of dust was accidentally hammered into the tray, while it was being crafted…I was able to make a necklace, bracelet, and earrings from one tray,” Hendrie said.
After giving these pieces to the retail manager of their store, Hendrie did not think that anything would come from it.
“A couple weeks later, our flagship store contacted me about the jewelry I had made from the small tray and asked if I could make more,” she said,” I was thrilled they liked it enough to give me a chance to make more for the company. ”
Her first line featured aluminum and bronze pieces that were recycled from Wendell August trays, like the first one. Since then, her team has introduced more than 20 new jewelry lines.
“I still use Wendell August metals and patterns to create the jewelry. I incorporate different gemstones, pearls, and multiple chain styles to create unique costume jewelry that is fitting to my style as well as Wendell August’s,” Hendrie said.
Hendrie’s pieces stem from her creative outlook on appealing to women that are looking to express their individuality. Many reflect art found throughout history in many different time periods and art forms. Hendrie also likes to include inspiring color combinations and ornate details.
“My love of jewelry has stemmed from my mother. She collects vintage jewelry and I loved the history behind the pieces – where it was made, the person who has worn it before. This has impacted how I make jewelry today and now my jewelry has a history to it,” Hendrie said.
Wendell August will launch their first fine sterling silver jewelry collection, Elements, this fall.
“To see my jewelry being worn by others is a huge accomplishment, so I hope to see my jewelry become a national item. I hope to continue to grow and develop fantastic jewelry that people will recognize as a piece designed by me,” Hendrie said.
Customers can watch Hendrie’s jewelry team work at the Wendell August Jewelry Studio weekdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Emily Hendrie’s work can be found at http://www.wendellaugust.com/