Photograph by Riley Karl Photography
I have always made a point of co-existing with rocks and gemstones. As a young girl, I was notorious for filling my pockets with found (rock) treasures which would end up tumbling around in my parents washing machine. As I grew, I tried to find safer and more creative ways to carry my treasures - medicine pouches, wire wraps - but, at the time it was more about utility vs. artistry. When I started metalsmithing, my thought process shifted...THIS is how I can beautifully capture & carry my treasures! Metalsmithing first started as a personal solution, but organically grew into sharing my craft and love of stones with others. The scale of my making has changed, but the deep love of earth still remains.
My jewelry can be described as ‘stone-centered’. The gemstone(s) is/are truly the heart of each piece. It is always where I start - I truly do not have a clear vision if I start outward. Most of the time a simple, modern design is all the stone requires. My approach: The metal does not need to out-shine the gemstone(s). If there are nature-inspired patterns or metal accents, its intention is to bring attention to the gem(s).
Creating jewelry that tells a story, evokes a memory, carries a treasure, or makes someone feel joy makes my soul sing.
Shannon Babette Parker, of Wisdom River Designs, is a native of Chester, VT. She holds a B.A. in Ceramics & Psychology from SUNY Potsdam. In regards to silver & goldsmithing, she has apprenticed under Angie Star, Natha Perkins & most recently Rebecca Haas, of Chester, VT. Shannon has been metalsmithing for close to 15 years, but has been creating jewelry since she was a young girl with a passion for rocks and gems. The ever-so-slight Southwestern flair in her design can be attributed to her work as a Southwestern jewelry buyer. This position allowed her to travel to New Mexico & Arizona, meet artisans, be filled to the brim with inspiration, and create invaluable personal connections with the land and people.
Wisdom River Designs was officially founded in 2008. Shannon’s inspirations are derived from vibrant gem-tones & brushed silver of American Indian jewelry, Vintage Art Deco designs, as well as the beauty of the natural world. Her stone-centered jewelry creations have a Southwestern, rustic-modern, punk feel, which creates a unique style; each piece is full of heart, soul & originality. Shannon is currently renovating a studio & custom design lab on Main Street in Chester, VT.