This Southwestern Jewelry Line Wins The Local Lady "Gold Stamp of Approval"

Bold metallic statements have made their comeback, especially in today's jewelry market.

A designer I've recently fallen in love with, Fable & Lore has adopted this trend is one of Missouri's best! The brand caught my eye while I was roaming around Castilleja in Edgehill Village. Chelsie's stunning gold-plated cacti collection could not be more fitting for the southwestern culture of Liz Rose's boutique!

Chelsie Hellige is a maker/designer based in St. Louis, MO, where she most recently wrapped up her showing at the 2016 Craftoberfest, a lantern-lit night market in the Midtown District! We recently chatted about things to see and do in St. Louis, top local markets to attend and all the necessities to a functional workspace. Whether or not you find yourself "free-spiriting" through life, I hope this interview invites a little magic into your day! 

Did you always know you wanted to start your own creative business?

Yes! Always. I knew very early on that I wanted to work for myself, and it could have been a million different things, to be honest. It just happened to land on jewelry, more by accident than by design.

Inspiration behind the name "Fable & Lore"? 

I've always been drawn to the mythical and esoteric, so something with a magical or storied vibe felt right to me. Beyond that, I really just wrote a bunch of things down in a notepad and picked one that sounded cool. No deep symbolism there! I do think I've grown into the name as my line has evolved over the years. It's much more fitting now than when I first started out.

If I'm visiting St. Louis for the weekend, what spots known by the locals should I check out?

Yes, come visit! St. Louisans LOVE showing folks around, haha! Cherokee Street is my first pick. Go visit The Mud House for great coffee and breakfast/lunch, shop some cool antiques and vintage on Cherokee's Antique Row, grab a treat at Whisk, then head up the street for tons of authentic Mexican groceries and taquerias. There's also plenty of hip little shops and boutiques all along Cherokee – a little something for everyone! The South Grand neighborhood is great for international dining and a smattering of fun stores, like Parsimonia Vintage. And no matter where you go in St. Louis, make sure to stop by one of our local craft breweries! It's a beer town, so you have to. 4 Hands Brewing Co., Perennial, The Civil Life, Earthbound, and Urban Chestnut are my favorites.

Favorite handmade markets you've worked in the past (or ones coming up) that you'd suggest people check out?

My favorite show is definitely Porter Flea! It's so well curated, and lots of variety without being too big. Sometimes when a show is too big, it's hard to really take it in. I definitely get the best vibes at Porter Flea. Renegade is amazing too, but can be a little overwhelming. I also organize a magical little show here in St. Louis called Craftoberfest! It's a modern makers' night market held at one of our local craft breweries, and it's pretty poppin'. Of course I'm a little biased, ha!

What kind of style were you going for when designing your home studio?

Honestly, there's not a lot to style because it's a very small space, so practicality was my first priority for this space. The studio is actually a small sunroom in our house, so the main "decor" is a gaggle of succulents on the windowsills to take advantage of the great sunlight, and a couple of hanging jewelry displays. Almost everything is utilitarian – my giant workbench, an area for computer work, and an IKEA Expedit for storing shipping supplies and whatnot. It's just got a "sunny minimalist" thing going on.

Choice music while designing?

I listen a lot to our local independent station, KDHX. I also have a few playlists on constant rotation, full of stuff like Tame Impala, Phantogram, Metric, etc. Really just any independent stuff with good energy. 

Best part about being your own boss?

The freedom and autonomy – which is actually hard to remember you have, and sometimes hard to enjoy because running a business is often stressful and scary! When you work for yourself, your work tends to creep into your off-hours and personal life, so you can feel like you're always working. But there are a lot of perks, like being able to take a nap or just knock off for the afternoon if I'm not feeling good or not feeling inspired. I definitely allow myself those things, because having freedom and enjoying my life are some of the reasons I work for myself in the first place! 

What is the process of sourcing materials and what you look for?

That's a tough one! Making jewelry requires so many little things, often some very technical and obscure things, so my sourcing is all over the place and can be challenging. Since there's not a lot available locally, I have to source a lot of things online. One time I flew out to Tucson to see what I could find at the gem and mineral show. I definitely look for sustainable and ethically sourced materials as much as a I can. I've even shifted my focus away from using stones as much because there's very little transparency in how and where stones are mined, which bothers me. Really, sourcing could easily be a full-time job in itself! Especially if you have ethical or environmental concerns. It's a challenge.

What would you say makes the perfect staple piece of jewelry?

Great question! I love pieces that combine simplicity with a little boldness, so that they're versatile but also stand out. I try to design my pieces with that in mind. Right now I'm always wearing a brass stacker or two, and the new Moon Phase Lariat. I can't stop wearing that dang lariat. Look for them in the shop soon!

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

extiles, interiors, and the Southwest are my not-so-secret obsessions, so I pull a lot of inspiration from those. I also love ancient metalwork and jewelry/art from other cultures and times. Being able to look at a piece from a thousand years ago and recognize some of the same themes and shapes that are popular today is really amazing, and also liberating because you realize that everything is just a spin on something else. Removing that pressure to create something totally new is what has really allowed me to create what I want, explore whatever themes that I want, and at the end of the day my work is better for it.