A local lady makes unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry and art from interesting finds in nature, antique malls and thrift shops. Click to see her creations.
Found by Jenn is a line of wearable art created from reclaimed and recycled jewelry parts and unique found objects that creator, Jenn Acus-Smith discovers in antique stores and finds on her travels. These vintage materials bring a richness and history, which the wearer then is able to carry with them. All the jewelry pieces are handmade in Acus-Smith’s Hamilton, Ohio, home studio.
Jenn’s successful business actually started from a compliment. For a while she was making found object assemblages inside old boxes and occasionally making jewelry for herself. One day a local shop owner saw a piece Acus-Smith was wearing made from driftwood and asked her if she would consider selling them at her store. She went home, made a batch for the shop owner, and things have grown ever since.
“I have always created art using reclaimed or found materials – I collect natural treasures on walks and find interesting pieces while exploring thrift stores,” she explains. “With no more room to display items in my home, it was time to create! It began with found object assemblage sculptures and eventually became unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry.”
Acus-Smith says nature provides her with a great deal of her inspiration and materials, such as unusual stones and shells along the banks of the Great Miami River and driftwood along the beaches of Lake Michigan.
“Recently I brought back some interesting rocks from Anchorage, Alaska! I put all of my findings together on a table in my studio and focus on making unusual combinations,” she adds. “So much of creating for me is just playing and experimenting until something sings. I have to be really organized in some of my other work, so it’s a nice break to just be open and explore ideas freely.”
Although many of Acus-Smith’s favorite materials come from nature, she also frequently hits antique malls, thrift stores and junk shops, looking for things that seem to have a story to them, even quirky things such as tiny skeleton keys, vintage buttons or antique deco drawer pulls.
“I like to purchase vintage jewelry and take apart to reinvent it into something new,” she explains. “Beads are definitely an obsession of mine! It’s also important to me to reuse materials instead of constantly consuming new things. I even keep the clasps and chains to rework into new pieces.”
Along with Acus-Smith’s business growing, so is her customer base. Most of these customers come when they purchase items through the local Hamilton stores or Hamilton Flea where Found by Jenn is sold. She makes a point to sell in places that value handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces, such as Sara’s House and IVY Salon.
“I offer jewelry that feels like wearable art; one-of-a-kind pieces that stand out and tell a story,” she says. “When you purchase from an artist, you are investing in their future creativity.”
As for future endeavors, Acus-Smith just opened an Etsy store and plans to continue to grow her audience through that and selling at new events.