February Visiting Artist: Zelik Jewelry

Introducing Zelik Jewelry, our visiting artist for February. Bridget Seligson is the owner and creator of Zelik, creates hand-forged, sterling silver, and bronze adornments. Shop Zelik Jewelry all month long in the shop and online. 

Q. What is the significance behind your jewelry company's name.
Zelik is the prefix of the Yiddish variation of my surname, Seligson; meaning blessed or happy. I've been creating and selling jewelry for most of my adult life and my business names have matured with me. I've changed my business name three times since arriving at Zelik Jewelry, each shift clarifying my path and identity as a jewelry maker.  My current name is representative of the ownership and evolution I've put into both my professional and personal growth.  Zelik (blessed) now embodies how I hope my jewelry makes people feel as well as the gratitude I hold when I craft my pieces. I'm content to have found the name that represents me and my relationship to my art.

Q: Tell us the story of how you started making Jewelry?
I've always expressed myself through art. Some of my happiest childhood memories were being peacefully immersed in arts and crafts.  I attended the high school for Creative and Performing Arts as a visual artist.  After high school, I started making jewelry and found my passion. 

I moved to Hawaii (where I lived for a number of years in my childhood) and got a job at a local bead shop. I apprenticed to learn a variety of jewelry making techniques and eventually was trained to teach classes. There, my art form developed from beads to metal which is now my main medium. A few years later, I returned to Philadelphia and I was hired as an assistant manager at a bead shop. To help support myself and continue to share my metal work, I jumped on newly launched Etsy and discovered that this was a pathway to being able to directly market my craft.  My first independent jewelry business was born.

Travel was a focus for me in my early adult life and through those adventures, jewelry making was my constant. I started to receive positive feedback however I sold my work, from boutiques, to festival circuits, online or craft fairs.  I made jewelry wherever I could set up a workstation; a tool shed, a tiki shack, kitchen tables and even on a fallen redwood tree in the Golden Gate Park!  All of these travels led up to my six month stay in Bali where I sought out lessons from a silversmith and further explored and honed my metal working techniques. Today you can find me in my Germantown, Philadelphia studio. 

Q: What is your favorite part about being an artist in Philadelphia? 
The best part about being an artist in Philly is having access to a diverse network of some of the most talented, hard working entrepreneurs, many of which I can call my friends. Though I have traveled far and wide,  Philly always calls me back.  Philadelphia is also still relatively affordable- a must for most artists. Jewelers Row is an incredible resource, providing every service, tool or material you need. I share a large sun lit studio with my high school friend who also happens to have a jewelry making business. This line of work can be isolating at times. Now between the two of us and our helpers, it's energizing and helps keep me up to pace.  

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

It's kind of mystical! It's hard to explain in words but I know that I'm most receptive when I'm feeling gratitude in my life. Through my travels I've lived in beautiful, natural places - they all have had a large influence on my work as well as my connection to the divine feminine. In my work you will find a leaf and pod motif, benevolent snakes, birds and flowers emulating the divine feminine.  My inspiration, of course, has evolved with my work and more recently I've been dreaming about wearable art pieces and large sculptural mobiles and wall hangings. I'm currently working on a collection that is inspired by costume jewelry from the 1980's. I found a heart shaped earring in a $1.00 tray at an antique mall over a year ago. I'm having so much fun reimagining the conventional heart symbol into a more avant-garde form. 

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