November 23, 2022 News » Local News
I t all started in careers class. You know, the one you take the quiz in to figure out what you're supposed to be for the rest of your life? Some people are told they are meant to be doctors and end up as train conductors. Some people are told they are meant to be chefs and find themselves falling in love with music. Ashley Scholtes was told she was meant to be a jeweler. The careers class was right. Spool Wire
Scholtes is the owner of Mitch Jewelry in Bend. At the age of 17, it all clicked after she did a job shadow with a jeweler. At 21, she started Mitch Jewelry and hasn't stopped creating since.
Mitch Jewelry is all about harmonious design, cold connection and functionality. The inspiration for Scholtes' designs usually evolve from previous shapes or if Scholtes gets an idea, she sketches it out. After many years of making earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings, it comes naturally.
"As far as my process goes, I am just bending and hammering wire and listening to internet TV, like 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Game of Thrones,'" Scholtes said.
Cold connection is the process of joining together two pieces of metal without using heat. To achieve these functional, clean-looking connections, Scholtes uses jump rings, rivets and wire wrapping. She keeps the materials simple, using mostly brass wire and a minimal number of stones and accents.
To make a pair of earrings, Scholtes cuts pieces of brass wire from a spool, selects her accent beads or stones from her collection and starts threading, bending and wrapping. Scholtes uses pliers, hammers, wire cutters and her hands to carefully wrap and form her designs. Attaching the post or ear wire to the design shape is the last part of the process.
The pieces that shoppers buy from Mitch Jewelry are made to last. The elegant beauty and durability of the earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets are what make Scholtes' jewelry widely popular. Mitch Jewelry is sold around the state, online and at The Workhouse.
Scholtes has had her studio space in The Workhouse for seven years and doesn't take it for granted.
"Being around people that have the same mindset and same struggles as you, and people who can talk you through designs and just life," Scholtes said. "We have all gotten to the point where we can rely on each other for all kinds of things."
The Workhouse is hosting a Shop Small 25% Off Sale on Saturday. Holiday shoppers can find Mitch Jewelry in the furthest corner from the entrance with a large and bright display table filled with handmade, locally made jewelry.
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