"GEMS" FROM APRILIERRE

  • Best Friends From Duluth to Minneapolis / St. Paul

    In honor of National Best Friends Day I decided to write a little bit about some of my long time girlfriends.  All of them are fantastic, amazing, fun, strong women.  It was hard to narrow it down, over the years I have made many “Best Friends” that remain that whether they are near or far.  I decided to focus on the theme from Duluth to the Twin Cities.  The women that have crossed the twenty year friendship threshold I met them all during my four years living in Duluth Minnesota.  Our friendships grew and were nurtured living in the Twin Cities.  While I couldn't include all my most wonderful and dearest friends in this particular piece I would like to give a quick shout out to my gals in Ely, Coon Rapids, Colorado Springs,  Austin TX  and Oakland!  I love you all too!

    From Duluth to  St. Paul
    Amy ~
    best friends
    Amy and I met at a theatre party in this teeny tiny house in Duluth.  She was looking for a place to live and my friend Mark and I needed a roommate.  She visited us the next day and we quickly discovered that she and I had an equal infatuation with Jim Morrison of the Doors and a love for cats.   We were instantly best friends.  Amy and I were the stylish, single girls on the town and for a short time we both worked together as tour guides on the William A Irvin, the ship museum, that is permanently docked in the Duluth Harbor.
     Amy and I met in our early twenties and have been friends for twenty one years now. She introduced me to the wonderful world of rollerblading on the Munger Trail and all the "finest" dive bars in Superior Wisconsin.  We both wore the same size shoe so we had doubled our supply of cute shoes on a college girl budget. Our friendship is the kind that lasts even when there is a period where life takes one on another journey.  I moved to Minneapolis and Amy to St. Paul.  We reconnected after eight years of silence and it was as if time hadn't passed at all.  
     
    Amy's favorite Aprilierre design is the earrings I designed for her and her sisters out of recycling the ivory piano keys from her late mothers most beloved instrument.  (you can read more about that story here.)
          

     

    From Superior to  St. Paul

     

    Teresa ~

    Teresa is an awesome woman, she is fearless, smart, independent and confident.  She will win you over with her warm kind hearted smile and sassy sense of humor.  I have known Teresa for twenty years now.  We met in a comedy of errors sort of way in Superior Wisconsin.  Teresa introduced me to our "Sunday Fundays".  She would drive through the back roads near Solon Springs popping in at a dive bar or two along the way.  We shared so many laughs, met so many characters  and we share a love the Blues. Teresa is one of the most positive people I have ever met.  She works hard. She's managed restaurants, been a florist for over a decade, and in her forties decided to go back to school and get her degree in social work specializing in gender studies.  She also found the time to become a tattoo advocate and helps put together major tattoo conventions in the Minnesota & North Dakota area.    Our friendship survived the couple of years apart after I moved to Minneapolis and she was still in Duluth/Superior.  The best news I ever got was when she called me up to say she was moving to St. Paul to go to school.

    Teresa's favorite design is the Spheres and Bubbles.  The inspiration is having fun playing with the shapes cut out from one of my cuffs.  

    I strive to be resourceful with my jewelry designs.  The Bubbles and Spheres collection allows me to use the most amount of my materials featuring cuffs, pendants and earrings all while producing little scrap and waste.   I will always think of my friend Teresa when I work on this type of design.   She has confessed to me that she has always had a fixation on smooth, round, shiny objects.  

    Teresa Page

     

      

    Teresa Page 

    From Duluth to St. Paul & NE Minneapolis

    Renee ~

     Renee and I met a good four years before we actually became friends.  I think we both wanted to dislike each other at first but soon found out we simply couldn't.  I first met Renee when I was still roommates with Amy. She came to Duluth  with a mutual acquaintance of ours and they were crashing for the weekend at our place.  Renee wasn't yet twenty-one at the time so Amy and I blew her off and headed out for the bars.  Four years later I would be staying at her place because my long time friend Mark ended up subletting her St. Paul apartment while she was in Germany.  She came home one evening and saw my size 7 shoes by the front door and thought "who is the B**** with the small shoes?"  I had moved to the Twin Cities shortly after that encounter and I only had male friends at the time.  I needed a girlfriend so badly.  I didn't have Teresa and I didn't have Amy.  So I called up Renee,  she introduced me to dancing at First Avenue and expanded my musical tastes to include The Roots and Massive Attack.  She took me to Chicago, to experience my first (and pretty much only) Rave.  We shared a love for fashion and it didn't take long for a strong friendship to emerge.  Our travel adventures lead us to New Orleans, Las Vegas, Denver and Terlingua, Texas.  We always manage to uplift each other when we need and remain vigilant riding out the storms life can send your way.   

    Renee's favorite designs are the spinner rings and any long statement earrings.  She is an earring girl and will never leave the house with out a pair of earrings.  

    Sterling silver and gold spinner rings 

    And Minneapolis

    Samantha~

    Samantha Pree Stinson

    I couldn't leave out Samantha.  While she doesn't share the same connection of Duluth to the Twin Cities. I had to include her in this post because she is one dynamic woman who has believed in my business and work and has numerous times helped me out of a jam when I needed someone to work my Aprilierre table at an event.  

    Sam introduced me to the wonderful world of Mexican cooking especially her Elotes.  Sam is a women made from pure determination, she fearlessly served her country in Afghanistan, she has worked her way up the corporate ladder and with the political times being tense she embraced the opportunity to "be the change" and is currently running for Minneapolis City Council.  

    Sam's favorite piece of Aprilierre jewelry is the classic spinner ring, the brass bangles and her favorite one of a kind quartz necklace.  

    brass bangle bracelets

    quartz necklace

    These women and many more have made such an impact on my life.  We stick by each other through the good times and the bad.  I am honored to call them all Best Friends.  Happy National Best Friends Day! 

    April and Renee Sam and April April and Teresa     

     

     

  • Three Charms for Three Generations

    In honor of Mothers Day coming up.  I created a limited edition necklace that would embrace and celebrate Motherhood, rebirth and spring.  The inspiration came from my mother’s own written words cultivated in her latest book release  “Home for Supper: memories and recipes. “ 

    Mothers Day Gift Set

    I found so much joy reading this book, not only because of  the memories it brought back but it also gave me a deeper understanding of my Grandmother.   She hailed from the "Greatest Generation" having lived through the great depression, World War Two, and raised her family on hard work with the promise of a savory hot supper at the table.  

    The design of the necklace is symbolic of my grandmothers garden, the oxidized silver the color of dark earth which embraces a silver branch, which blooms into a budding gold flower.  

    Three charms for three generations.  Jewelry designed by an artist, inspired by her mother’s words that were inspired by her mother's suppers and the stories experienced around the family table. 

     

    Mothers Day Necklace

     

  • Jewelry in the Keys of Life

    “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.” –Steve Wonder

      I have such a fond memory of my mother playing piano when I was little. I would gaze at her fingers moving effortlessly over the black and white keys, amazed that the pages speckled with black notes before her translated into cascading chords of music.

     One of the first melodies I remember truly gravitating towards was “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills. It was such a playful little song and I would take such delight when it would come on the radio. I remember begging my mother to learn that song for me and she obliged and I would laugh and dance in circles around the living room in whenever she played the tune.

    Recently a long time friend of mine reached out to me with a unique jewelry challenge. Her mother had passed away a couple year earlier. She had inherited a gorgeous antique piano that had been in her family for generations. Built in 1910, this piano arrived by train to the far north of Minnesota and made its way to her grandmother’s home. It would be passed down two generations.

    By the time it came into her possession it was old and in need of repairs. All the keys needed to be replaced. They discovered the keys are real ivory before it was banned for sale and use in the United States in the 1940s. She asked if I could create three pairs of earrings from some of the ivory keys. I was immediately excited to accept the challenge.

    Spreading out the pieces and drawing out ideas I set to work on some prototypes. I knew my friend enjoys wearing larger earrings and that she wanted me to use the larger keys that had been graced by her mother’s fingers and where her prints may still remain. We agreed on a design and what followed were many patient hours of sawing, torching, texturing, and setting.        

    I love it when I have the opportunity to create a piece of jewelry that will hold a deep significance to the wearer. It’s an honor to be able to capture a small essence of a memory into a tangible piece of jewelry, in this case the memory of one’s mother playing the music she loved, much like my own.

  • The passion behind the voice of Aprilierre.

    At a young age I began expressing myself in drawing which evolved into painting, and then I became active in the local community theatre often acting side by side with one of my parents. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of MN Duluth and then began dabbling in some creative writing, and eventually my artistic expression evolved into its true form: jewelry design.

     

     I love my art, and I get incredibly excited when other people do too.  Once as I exited the classic St. Paul establishment Cafe Latte, a woman stopped me on her way in and said, "Those are fabulous earrings! Who designed them?”  It was the “designed” them that stood out to me.  Not only had I designed but I also made them.  I smiled, as a feeling of pride washed over me.  I am indeed a designer.

     

    The earrings she had noticed were a brand new design, at the time. They were my Pendulum statement earrings, bold and unique enough to stop a woman on the street.   THAT is the ultimate validation of my craft.  A business card transaction took place, and week later she visited my booth at the Mill City Farmers Market.    When someone specifically recognizes a level of design aesthetic in my work I feel humbled and honored.

     The truth is it took me some time to truly believe that I can flourish with my chosen artistic path as a career.  For years I battled the inner dialogue that "you aren't a real jewelry designer,” and "you're just learning." That line of thinking has never lent itself to the progression of my business; simply because I didn't allow myself to dream a bigger dream, the dream of sustaining a lifestyle based on creating my art. I see more clearly than ever before; this is the work I enjoy, I love making a connection with people, I love creating something that is a meaningful and emotional link to people's lives.  I am a "real designer”. Aprilierre jewelry is collection that people love, trust and come back for more. 

     

     

    I wouldn't have a business or this opportunity for growth if it wasn't for my loyal customers and clients. I am deeply grateful for the support I have had over the years.

    I am excited for the future of my business. I have new packaging designed, my business will be featured in the Twin Cities Local Scout Guide Vol. 3, and I have launched my new website. What amazes me the most is that I have done all this myself. I am eager for the future, to turn over some of the reigns in my business.  Until then I am proud of what I built with my own two hands.  Creating with tools and a flame…making metal move that is my passion.  That is the story behind Aprilierre.