In her polished and playful jewelry work, Florida’s Samantha Freeman strives to push the boundaries of design, materials and technique.
The artist: Born in England, Freeman moved with her parents to Ohio at age nine. In high school art classes, she started making jewelry and small sculptures. She earned a BFA from Parsons School of Design in NYC after a year in Virginia studying biochemistry.
After graduation, Freeman worked in New York for jewelry designer Meryl Waitz, who schooled her in the business. In her first American Craft Council (ACC) show in 1990, Freeman wrote $7,000 in wholesale orders.
The studio: Freeman works out of a large studio at her home on an acre of lush tropical foliage in Ocala, where she moved in 2018.
Art + materials: Jewelry using precious metals, gemstones, and now enamel, which she taught herself how to use during the pandemic. Her first enameled piece was a winged beetle, Alexander, inspired by an A.A. Milne poem. Completed in June 2020, the piece, which could be worn as a pin or pendant, sold for $5,000.
- The Pangolin bracelet ($1,550 to $2,800) is made of oxidized silver and cubic zirconia, gold vermeil and colored gemstones.
- Enamel and gemstone necklaces ($1,250 to $2,200).
- Her travels across the world.
- Wants to make things no one else has.
- Nature “which is humbling in its beauty and variety.”
Big break: Chosen as designer of the year by the American Jewelry Design Council in 1993. The award came with a booth in the new designer section of the JA New York show, the leading jewelry trade show, at the Javits Center.
- Spectrum Award,1995
- Saul Bell Design Award, 2016
- Wholesaled through ACC shows from 1990 to about 2010 before switching to doing retail shows and art festivals.
- First prize in jewelry at the Coconut Grove (FL) Art Festival, 2013, followed by multiple awards at shows around the country.
What’s new: Enameled burlesque girls (right)
What next: Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show, Nov. 5-7, at the Carter Center in Atlanta. For details, visit: atlantacontemporaryjewelryshow.com
Where to buy: samanthafreemandesign.com
Get social at:
- Facebook: samanthafreemandesign
- Instagram: @samanthafreemandesign