Photo by Joseph Nienstedt
You could say that Katie Thomspon, the designer of Black Swamp accessories is up to her head in wood all day long. The conception of her handmade accessory line started with Katie wanting to recycle the wood shavings from the furniture making that she does with her husband Joseph. Their studio based in Eutawville, SC is where they produce modern, organic furniture under the brand of Joseph Thompson Woodworks. The custom furniture is a direct reflection of her own accessory design and her inspiration. The natural materials she uses are found locally and include native wood comprised of cypress, walnut, maple, and cherry. Each piece is it’s own work of art and is truly one of a kind. View more to learn more about Katie Thompson’s story and what inspires her.
* From Feb 5th – Feb 12th we’ll be doing an Instagram giveaway with Black Swamp for this black walnut spiral cuff. Follow @blackswampco and @charlestonshopcurator and use the hastag #blackswampgiveaway to enter to win this sleek handmade piece.
When did you start making jewelry? I started making jewelry in May of 2013, and launched Black Swamp a month later. I’d conceptualized a few pieces over the years but didn’t bring them to life until then.
How did you come up with the name? The Black Swamps that are just outside of Charleston, SC.
Was it something you always wanted to do? Not really! I did not think I’d enjoy the accessory business as much as I do. It’s wonderful to make people feel their best. I normally design furniture, but I needed something I could physically do and also quick! I need that satisfaction of completing a small project while waiting for larger projects to be completed.
What was your 1st piece? It was a necklace with I think a white oak curl pendant on a gold rope chain.
What is your favorite piece? I really love my cuffs. They’re so unique, I kept my prototype, it’s curly maple, and I adore it.
How would you describe your jewelry? In a literal sense, I describe it as handcrafted, one of a kind pieces made with re-purposed and local materials. In my creative sense, I describe them as natural, wearable works of art.
Has your jewelry evolved since you started? Absolutely! I started off working with shavings, then I quickly learned that solid pieces were more stable. I also got into steam bending about 7 months after I started, since then my cuffs have taken off in several styles, whereas before I didn’t have a lot of bracelet options.
What inspires you? My husband, Joseph. He is a talented furniture maker and meticulous about his quality and he always pushes me to do my best or better. I’m inspired by my materials and how I’m giving them sometimes a second, most often times a third life as I use scraps from our handcrafted furniture business. I’m also inspired by my clients and their enthusiasm and their ideas, a lot of my new products come from client suggestions! I’m especially inspired by strong women and my dear family and friends.