Hudson River Exchange interviews the designer + maker Sara Golden currently showcased at the Handmade Pop Up Shop at 514 Warren Street from May 17th to June 16th.
HRE: What’s your creative process? What’s your favorite part? How do you maintain your creative stamina? What do you do when you’re stuck?
SARA: I’m always trying to stay visually stimulated — following photographers and creatives on Instagram, visiting museums in the city to check out new shows, tearing apart magazines to keep the pages with great editorials. It all sort of seeps into my brain, and eventually a few of those thoughts come together and rise up to the surface. That’s my favorite part, when all the different pieces click together into an idea and you’re so excited to just grab a pencil and start working it out. I find that I need to be totally into an idea before I can design a whole collection of jewelry around it, and trying to rush that process just ruins the final product. If I get stuck, I’ll try to doing some other totally different task (like cleaning the studio, or filing away business receipts) to keep from feeling bogged down, or I’ll look for fresh perspectives on my problem from friends or even family members, you never know where a good idea will come from!
HRE: What materials do you work with? How did you start working with these materials and why do you enjoy working with these materials?
SARA: I absolutely love working with genuine semi-precious stones. They come in an amazing array of colors and patterns, and even one kind of pattern will have hundreds of unique variations. Because of where and how that stone formed, each one is like its own story. It’s easy to get obsessed with having everything be perfect and uniform and streamlined, but the little quirks and differences make genuine stones so much more interesting and unique.
HRE: We believe creativity loves company because there’s so much we can share and learn from each other. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about creative practice, business, or in life?
SARA: I did a pop up with Connie of Whole Clarity, who said about small business, “It’s never gonna get easier than it is right now,” and it changed my entire perspective. I’d been feeling overwhelmed at the end of last year with everything I had to get done (you wear so many hats a small business owner!), and when she said that I realized that if I let myself get stuck on these current challenges, how could I possibly find my way to bigger, even better challenges to have figure out?
HRE: What is a goal that you set for your business this year?
SARA: I made a goal to carve out more personal time for myself after a very busy, very packed end of the year. I’m so grateful for all the work, but I also found that I became so work-focused that I wasn’t being as healthy as I could, or keeping up with friends as much as I wanted, and I became super one-dimensional. I decided that 2019 is the year I’ll finally, actually put time with friends on the calendar, stop working after dinner, and spend more down-time time with my husband and dogs.
HRE: Can you share a challenge and a benefit about being a creative in the Hudson Valley?
SARA: I think a challenge about living up here is that everything is so far apart. Buying supplies, grabbing coffee with friends, visiting vendors in New York City — it requires a lot more planning and time to make them happen so I’m not able to do it as often as I’d like. But on the other hand, I think the distance is a benefit; I have more physical space to work and experiment, I’m basically always surrounded by nature (how could that ever be bad?), and it has made me get creative with problem solving because I can’t rely on convenience.
— Sara Golden is an independent jewelry designer making every piece by hand in a small studio in the Catskill Mountains. She strives to make high quality, long-lasting jewelry out of beautiful materials and traditional techniques. She’s also inspired by the imperfect beauty of nature, the unique personality of each material she works with, and anything that sparkles.