June Mama Maker: Chandra Palmer with Written in Metal
Meet your Maker
When I started this feature, I knew straight away that I wanted to show off my pal, Chandra Palmer, to y’all. She and I have worked together for about two years and we get along like peas and carrots. Our kiddos are close to the same age (she has a 2 year old son named Weston whom she describes as “all-boy”, meaning she has a lifetime supply of stain eraser), our husbands are basically personality twins, and best of all, she totally gets my weird humor. Bonus: she’s my go-to for stamped jewelry at insanely reasonable prices. Chandra was clutch this past Christmas when she made two gifts for me literally overnight, God love her. She makes seriously unique and fun pieces out of recycled metal, beads, old jewelry, leather, and other miscellaneous stuff that strikes her fancy. I’ve ordered cuffs, bangles, countless necklaces, and I’ve got my eye on a fork ring. Yeah, you heard me. Fork ring. Looks like stacked rings, but better.
Here are a few favorites from my own collection:
Anywho, I recently sat down with Chandra to find out how she started her business, what inspires her, and how she finds time to create while chasing her boy out of mud puddles.
So, when did you start Written in Metal and what’s the story behind the name?
C: I started in May 2010 and actually, the original name that I chose was Thinguhmajig, but someone else already owned that name, so I changed it. Since I stamp words and sayings, it made sense. I literally write in metal.
How did you learn to make your pieces? Did you take classes, was it a family tradition, self taught?
C: I’m very much self taught. A LOT of trial and error is involved. I play around with different textiles and see how I can maneuver them to form what’s in my head. Sometimes I scrap a piece before I’m halfway finished because I don’t like the colors together, or I stamp my words crooked. It took a lot of practice to get the letter stamping down! But I think imperfection is something to be celebrated and I’m okay with figuring things out as I go. Some of my favorite pieces were mistakes.
Speaking of, what your favorite thing you’ve made?
C: Too hard to pick one! I’m proud of everything I make, so it’s like picking a favorite child. I do have a new technique that I’m slightly obsessed with…acid etching metal with a design and then stamping over it. Takes some extra time, but so far the results are totally worth it.
Where do you find inspiration for your products?
C: Lots and lots of research. I carry a notebook with me full of sayings and phrases and I’m constantly adding to it. Pinterest is also a great source to keep up with motivational quotes and such, so I scroll through that a bunch. I usually have a booth at the local craft shows and I get inspired by other artists there as well. It’s also common for a client to request a special saying or maybe a bible verse. My favorite is when a customer will describe what they’re wanting and then allow me to get creative with the piece. For example, I’m working on a men’s archery bracelet for a company and the only thing they requested is that it look manly and incorporate an arrow. So many possibilities, and I love it.
Where’s your favorite place to shop for your supplies?
C: Etsy! It’s my online swap-meet. I also repurpose a lot, so I love junk fairs and antique booths. Flea market hunting is my idea of a perfect afternoon.
As a mama, when do you find time to make your products?
C: When he is sleeping!! There’s no working when he’s awake. Weston keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I’m on a time crunch, my husband is really good about getting him out of the house and off on manly adventures together.
Before you sit down to create, what do you HAVE to have on hand?
C: Coffee, 100%. And usually a long forgotten TV series to keep me company. Currently, it’s Dawson’s Creek. Joey + Dawson = Forever
What three Instagram accounts are your favorite to follow for inspiration or fun?
Where can we find your pieces?
C: I have booths located at Wasted in Ft. Smith, AR and at The Locals in Prairie Grove. You can also order through my Facebook page since I’m always posting new items there. Oh, and I’ll be at the Junk Ranch this weekend, June 9 and 10, in Prairie Grove! You should definitely check out the Junk Ranch! It’s huge and has some incredible finds.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll definitely be going to the Junk Ranch this weekend! Hope to see you there!