Meet the Maker: Storytelling Strands
Storytelling Strands is a family affair—born from the interests of founder Barbara McReynolds' daughters, her jewelry takes equal inspiration from the beauty and healing properties of rocks and an appreciation for fine arts. The delicate hammered metals and raw gem stones give more than delight to their beholders: a portion of the proceeds from jewelry sales benefit Sudden Infant Death Syndrome research and awareness groups across the country.
WHAT DOES STORYTELLING STRANDS MEAN TO YOU?
Storytelling Strands is a second career for me, and it’s a way to give back after many, many years. I worked in corporate America for 28 years, and it was pretty left-brained stuff. Raising two daughters, one an artist who joins me at the Flea, and another daughter with a degree in geology. It’s this combination of rocks and art that suddenly lead to a new career. The reason I started it was that it was a way to donate to research for SIDS death. Our son died 28 years ago when he was three months old, so we use a lot of proceeds to go towards that research. It’s our way of giving back.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST PIECE OF JEWELRY YOU EVER MADE?
I took a class, and I made a necklace—I remember it was Jasper beads that I had gotten on a trip we had taken, and I was hooked. I took the class with some friends, and we just did it for fun—it turned into me feeling like this was what I needed to be doing.
WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST MOTIVATOR?
Without a doubt, my family motivates me. I've been married to an amazing man for 34 years. We have an art-loving daughter who is an accomplished acrylic painter whom I love to share a booth with at events. We have a rock-loving daughter who has her geology degree and is living in New Zealand. I started this business to donate to charitable organizations such as Angel Eyes, in honor of our son who died of SIDS. My business of artful rocks that benefit a charity got its roots from my family.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU FIND YOURSELF USING AGAIN AND AGAIN?
I've never met a Jasper I didn't like, so I find that these types of stones are some of my favorites. I also love incorporating metal into the pieces I design. It's funny, but hammering and lighting things on fire to create a special patina to metal is somehow therapeutic to me and the stones always seem to be complemented by these little additions.
DO YOU HAVE A PIECE OF JEWELRY THAT YOU COVET?
Of things I've made, a ring—it’s 14 karat gold, and I call it a journey ring. When I started making them, my father had just passed away and my family was going through some hardship. I was in an angry, sad place. So I started hammering—and like everything in life, you end up with this beautiful idea that you should be happy with your blessings—that’s something that I would wear every day because it celebrates the ups and downs.
Follow storytelling strands:
QUICK FACT #1
Stones, crystals, and metals that uplift.
QUICK FACT #2
Story cards and metaphysical properties for each strand and design.
QUICK FACT #3
Embellishment that gives back.