Taking a shine to Adirondack elements
by Annie Stoltie
Recently, when Susan Camp made her monthly jewelry delivery—a handful of bracelets, necklaces and earrings—to Lake Placid Lodge’s gift shop, her pieces sold out in an hour. It’s no wonder: her work is fashionable and funky. Camp, who lives in Lake Clear, calls her creations “reﬁned organic.” A silver pendant may mimic a gnarled twig, but the blue passion topaz at its tip bumps the necklace into black-tie potential. Likewise, a string of silver petals with chunks of aventurine forms a ﬂuid, elegant bracelet.
Camp doesn’t cast metal, but with a torch manipulates mostly Argentium silver, a lightweight material that’s lower maintenance than traditional sterling silver. The stones she incorporates—citrine, smoky quartz, garnet, amethyst, among others—share a palette with the scene outside her home studio’s wall of windows: sky, forest, meadow, lake.
Camp has lived this Adirondack idyll with her partner, Jon Dubee, and his teenage daughter, Jacqy, since moving here from St. Louis almost a decade ago. From Lake Clear she commuted and tele-worked to Washington DC, where she continued her 25-year career as a cartographer for the government, until retiring in 2006. That’s when she could focus full-time on the jewelry-making skills she had learned back in St. Louis at the artisan-run Craft Alliance.
Now, a typical work day—“It doesn’t feel much like work because I can’t wait to get at it,” says Camp—means golden retriever Goldie and Chesapeake Bay retriever Lucy at her feet, and, inspiration permitting, yields two pairs of earrings. Bracelets and necklaces take longer. Earrings “give me a sense of accomplishment and allow me to try new things,” she says.
In addition to the Lake Placid Lodge, Susan Camp Studio Fine Artisan Jewelry (518-891-9033), which ranges from $80 to $700, is sold at Saranac Lake’s Adirondack Artists’ Guild, where she’s a member; at Cornerstone Cellars, in Napa Valley; and via www.susancampstudio.com. See Elements of …, an exhibition of Camp’s work, at the Adirondack Artists’ Guild gallery in August.