How sustainability and innovation have impacted the career of this lifelong jeweler
PMA Craft Show: Could you tell us a little about your background and how you got involved in craft?
Todd Reed: I have always been interested in the craft of putting things together. After high school, I was working as a leathersmith making hand-stitched clothing, craft couture and handbags with a local designer. We used many silver and deer antler ornaments in the pieces, which instilled a passion for expanding the metal components into buckles and jewelry items. After I successfully made my first concho, I realized I fell in love with metal. This inspired me to build a home studio, and that is when my career in jewelry design began!
CS: What compels you to use recycled metals and sustainably-sourced raw diamonds in your work?
TR: I started my company with a focus on forming meaningful relationships, not only with people, but also the environment.
At that time, there was no Kimberley process, which is a certification that verifies diamonds’ origins. Even though it was not popular to be responsible, it was important to me, so we did it. I started working with a vendor who made a commitment to source diamonds from non-conflict areas, and I still work with them to this day.
We also work with a great company called Hoover and Strong, a refiner and manufacturer that has been providing socially and environmentally-responsible products for more than 95 years. We send them our scraps and get usable pieces of metal in return. In fact, all of the metals we use can be easily recycled.
CS: You’re so committed to the environment and sustainability. Were you always interested in using diamonds responsibly in your craft?
TR: I’m constantly inspired by diamonds and reusing or reimagining materials. That’s just who I am. When I was younger I would use things like roadkill for leather; I think that “innovative lens” is just instilled in me. To this day when I look at diamonds in my workspace I’m inspired, they’re just so amazing!
CS: Your online presence is active. Do you have any tips for artists trying to get their name recognized using social media?
TR: Growing up I was always called “tenacious Todd.” You kind of have to be obsessive about something to make a presence when there’s hundreds of thousands of other companies and attractions for people to browse and select. It really must become your life. You can’t just put in 50 hours and expect it to happen - it’s just tenacity and a willingness to be unique and stand out.
The biggest key I would tell people trying to make art into a business is you have to constantly look and re-look at everything, with the end goal of pushing innovation. That, coupled with truly believing in the work you’re doing.
CS:How did you feel presenting your work in the 2017 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show as compared to your first time?
TR: I was excited about the work I created, as well as the opportunity to represent my brand to a new group of people. This is how I started the beginning of my career – getting amazing feedback from a diverse audience at the Craft Show.
Learn more about Todd Reed by visiting https://www.toddreed.com.