For the second addition of the It Girl Series I had the pleasure of interviewing artist and jewelry designer, Samantha Bueche. Samantha makes beautiful jewelry and and artwork so I was excited to talk to her and find out more about the stories behind her inspiration and motivation.
Describe yourself in 3-5 words:
Influential, Artistic, Inimitable, Optimistic, and Strong-Willed.
What inspired you to start making jewelry/and pursuing it more seriously?
I have been making jewelry since I was three years old; I was an artsy kid and got bullied a lot for being weird and talking a lot since I had undiagnosed ADHD, so from a young age I found that the best way to channel my voice was through creative expression. I would transform my ideas through mediums of clothing, jewelry, writing, and art from as early as I can remember. I always enjoyed creative pursuits more than things like sports, which I sucked miserably at; my mom would often take me to various museums, art classes, bead stores, art supply stores, and we would do arts and crafts all the time at home. This definitely shaped me as a creator and as a designer.
In college, I began seriously making jewelry again for the first time in a few years because of how busy I was from my education, and when a particularly broke Christmas rolled around my junior year, I decided to make a bunch of jewelry as presents for my friends and family. I’d been doing it for so long and I figured it would save me some money. Not only were my designs way better than I thought, but I actually really loved making the gifts and decided to keep doing it more actively as a hobby. After my first year out of college and working my first post-graduate job as a fashion stylist/personal shopper, I found myself feeling unfulfilled and unexcited about the next phase of my life. I hated waking up every single day and working my ass off just to make $10 an hour and make someone else’s dream come true. So after thinking it over and discussing it with some trusted loved ones, I decided to quit my job and start my business that I’d been dreaming of creating since I was a little girl. I always wanted to be a business owner and knew it would have something to do with fashion and artwork, and here I am at twenty-two trying to make my crazy dreams come true. I love it. It’s definitely not about money for me. Being a creator is absolutely sacred to my life, and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else with my life.
Are there any themes behind your art/jewelry?
So many! I am always thinking of new themes, ideas, concepts, and symbolisms to interpret through my art and jewelry. I often work around themes of bringing a new life to old and forgotten things; whether it be recycled materials or old books from thrift stores, I’m always looking to give a new meaning to something that people might’ve seen a million times and never appreciated or might not even know it existed. I studied history in college, and that is an absolutely HUGE theme of my work in art and jewelry. I constantly study vintage fashion and I even look at photos of old British royalty, Renaissance paintings, work from great thinkers, and way more historical content, and that shows in my work. I love the theme of history, and it means a lot to me and my identity as a creator. So much has happened in all of the world’s history, and many people just live their daily lives without being aware of how many people worked to create the world around them. Another theme I often interpret in my work is feminism and what I like to call, “The Woman’s Journey”, which is the uniquely female perspective of life that only women can portray. I am a fervently proud feminist, and I refuse to be quiet about it. My sexuality is a common theme in my artwork, because I am bisexual and I think that is one of the things that makes me a great designer and artist. It allows me to see the world differently, which I am grateful for.
I love politics, law, and justice as themes, and use them often. Pop culture is a big influence over my art, but not just modern pop culture; I love doing pieces referential to outdated popular culture and celebrities, because I think it’s funny how American culture can change so rapidly so quickly and yet many Americans probably already forgot about the phrases, people, art, and music that made them who they are today. I am very inspired as well by my own journey in life and my struggles with the things I have been through in life; a lot of my work is very personal, and reflects things that I have been through myself. I think that is my most powerful and inspiring work, and I am excited to keep sharing my journey with the world.
When it comes to jewelry, the main theme that I use is a theme of vintage style; I am deeply inspired by the Art Deco movement and the early 1900’s in America, as well as the 40’s, 60’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I absolutely love fashion and always have, and I aim to design the most unique and the coolest jewelry on the market. I like to make jewelry that makes other people think differently about jewelry – not just the way it looks, but how the pieces make you feel and what they can do for your life beyond aesthetic value. Wearing an amazing piece of funky jewelry could help land you the job of your dreams, or be the conversation piece that lands you the cutest girlfriend you ever had. I like to think that my jewelry will have a place in the important moments in people’s lives, so I guess that unconditional love and optimistic happiness are some themes I’d say I design with. I also design my jewelry with the idea of a certain girl in mind, like who she is and what she is going to wear my jewelry to. That makes it fun to visualize the piece.
I have so many themes that it would be hard to write them all down. Like I mentioned before, I have ADHD so I have a lot of thoughts. More than I know what to do with. But I think that’s secretly what makes me a good artist, because I always have and always will have something to say.
What is the biggest challenge about your jewelry making/art and what is the biggest reward?
The biggest challenge about making jewelry is the physical aspect; it actually is pretty taxing on my hands and joints, and sometimes my eyes feel super strained. I have scoliosis, and my back often hurts from hunching over paintings and jewelry, but that’s such a small cost for me in contrast to the benefits. The biggest reward that I feel making jewelry and art is definitely the feeling of seeing a customer thrilled to wear one of my designs or stoked to hang my art up in their home. That feeling is irreplaceable, and I’m constantly chasing it. I love making people happy through my work, that is the greatest sensation on Earth.
What women inspire you, both artistically and in your every day life and why?
One of the most inspiring women to me is definitely my grandmother, who inspired my love of fashion greatly since I was a very little girl. She owned a bridal store with so many beautiful gowns and accessories, and I absolutely loved being there so much. I always dreamed of having my own store and I even used to try selling gowns to the customers in her shop when I was like 6. She inspires me every day still, and her style is so incredible that I will always consider her my greatest style role model.
Artistically, I am greatly inspired by a lot of women for different reasons, whether it be their strength, their style, their work ethic, their designs, etc. I have always idolized Audrey Hepburn for her commitment to humanitarianism and her elegance, grace, and classic style. Wanda Sykes and Ellen DeGeneres inspire me a lot, because as a fellow member of the LGBT community I think it is amazing how powerful and funny these talented women are and what a great contribution each of them have made to the queer community. Anne Frank is my lifetime inspiration; I read her diary when I was five and it changed my life forever. Nothing is more inspiring than going through such a horrific situation as she did, and I will always consider her to be one of the most courageous women who ever lived. I also look up greatly to Elizabeth Warren, Cecile Richards, Laverne Cox, Marie Curie, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dolly Madison, Gloria Steinem, Hannah Arendt, Jane Fonda, Kim Cattrall, Betsey Johnson, and so many more women. I love women, and always will look up to the many inspiring women of the past, present, and future.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
One of the proudest accomplishments of my life was absolutely graduating from college. Education is sacred to me, and I am constantly reminded of how privileged and lucky I am to have gotten the chance to attend University. When I got my diploma in the mail, I burst out into tears. College was the hardest time of my life, and I went through some very difficult things in those four years – but it was totally and completely worth it once I got my hands on that piece of paper. I encourage all young women to attend school, because it will be something you will never regret. Education is so powerful.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
To see the Berlin Wall in person. That will fulfill all my nerdy history and art dreams in one fell swoop. I’ll probably cry the whole time, just like I usually do at important historical monuments. I really am a huge nerd, but that’s chill because I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t.
What is one piece of advice you have for other women?
My biggest, most crucial piece of advice for women is: DONT GIVE UP. Do not listen to all the people that made you feel like you were inadequate, insufficient, too much or too little. Those people are wrong and will always try to put out your flame, so instead of letting them put it out, light it bigger. Keep pushing through obstacles and don’t let yourself talk yourself into a dark place. You are worthy, talented, and you have so much to offer the world. Keep fighting, we all have to stay strong as women and pull each other up in order to progress as a society. Also, be yourself. If you’re weird, be weird. If you’re cool, be cool. Don’t be mean to other people. Tell people you love them a lot. Always wear something fun that makes you smile. Be badass, and don’t apologize for being yourself. You can only be you in this world.