Behind the Scenes with Alison Blair Studio, Returning Featured Artisan

Alison Stern's curiosity and experimentation inspires her ever evolving, incredible designs at Alison Blair Studio.

FF: How did you begin your handmade journey?

ABS: My handmade journey began out of practicality. Back in 2001, my husband left his job to start his own business. We were left without his previous health insurance and my son and I had pre-existing conditions that made us ineligible for health insurance. In Colorado, if you owned a business that grossed a certain amount each year, you could qualify for "group of 1" insurance, that would allow my son and I to be covered. And so began Alison Blair Studio jewelry designs. True Story.

FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?

ABS: I had been doing a lot of very delicate designs and was feeling like I wanted to explore other avenues and move out of my comfort zone. My current designs are not exactly "in your face," but are very different from the faceted tiny gemstone designs I had been working with for so long.

FF: What materials do you work with and why?

ABS: I love materials that contradict themselves, like diamonds in the raw, opposite colors working in unison; leather with refined cuts of stones. I love the unexpected composition that comes from unlikely bed fellows.

FF: Inspiration comes from where?

ABS: My customers often comment on my really pleasing and unusual color combinations. When two colors work, I just know it, intuitively. It was a couple years into my jewelry career before I realized that my combinations were not actually my own. My father was a fine artist who formally studied color for years. At some point I realized that many of my combinations, especially those using purples and browns and ochres, were actually influenced by many of his abstract oil paintings that I grew up around.

FF: What excites you for the future?

ABS: I have recently taken a step back from my wholesale business so I can concentrate on retail shows such as Firefly. I am redesigning my booth and working on lots of different techniques such as bezeling, soldering, and pmc modeling.

FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?

ABS: Don't take the rules too seriously. Follow your heart when designing new product. Be open to those pieces that work, and trust when you feel that something falls short.

Visit and shop with Alison Blair Studio at Firefly Handmade Spring Market, May 21-22, 10-4, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district , 1710 29th St. (between Canyon & Walnut), Boulder, CO.


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