Meet Susan Goodwin
Susan Goodwin has been a celebrated jewelry artist and tour de force in pearl and precious stone showpieces for 25 years. Born in Kirkland, Washington in 1954, Susan traveled the world before returning to her roots and settling in Seattle. Her early years and first artistic influences were formed in the still exotic, tropical paradise of Hawaii. Her spirited mother fled the gray skies of the Pacific Northwest and moved to Honolulu when Susan was only three years old. It was there that Susan recalls becoming entranced by nature; exploring the beach, the jungle and the world around her and developing her passion for color, texture and light.
Susan always knew she would be an artist, but she didn’t settle into her career until she had experienced such diverse life lessons as living on a horse ranch in Utah, working the graveyard shift making granola in Minneapolis, and doing her time as a grocery clerk in Boston. Her first business forays were in vintage clothing stores and managing her own hand embroidery business. It wasn’t until the early eighties when Susan found her creative home in jewelry.
A dear friend sparked her artistic fire with some ancient glass trade beads. “I loved the history attached to them, but found their form a bit rugged.” The eighties proved to be an excellent training period and opportunity to experiment with materials. It was a time when earrings could be outrageous. She made them out of everything; antique bits and bobs, dried rose buds and mahjong tiles. She pursued her interest in making glass beads, spending hours and hours in the basement with a blowtorch, trying to sort out why some worked and others didn’t. There were no classes given for bead making at that time.
As her skills progressed, so did her personal taste. Susan found herself drawn to the inner fire and magical energy of precious stones. Pearls became her passion. In the nineties, Susan’s business took off. She expanded her line of jewelry, hired a crew and became a popular name in high-end department stores, museum stores, and boutiques in Asia, Europe and the U.S.A. She kept up with the changing trends in jewelry, always knowing what the modern, tasteful woman would be wearing in the coming seasons. She created a look that is best described as a well-balanced mix of timeless classics with a nod to current fashion trends. She draws inspiration from the glamour of the 1950’s with influences from the natural world.
“There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t shine brighter while wearing a strand of pearls.” Susan says. “Pearls frame a face like nothing else. They often are used as reward for life’s passages, a graduation, a wedding, an anniversary, a child. It seems especially poetic when you consider that pearls symbolize an irritant becoming something prized and beautiful. Each one has its own character, shape, color and luster. Once you’ve bonded with a pearl, there’s precious little that can take its place.”
Today, Susan pursues the work she loves the most. No longer enamored with large scale production, she now concentrates on creating personalized, custom works; the one of a kind showpieces her loyal clientele adores. She also produces a limited line of seasonal work. It’s always fun to watch a new customer discover Susan’s jewelry. They seem to instinctively feel the care and energy infused into each piece. They may never have met, but the buyer will swear that Susan made the earrings, bracelet or necklace just for them.