Joy in Jewelry

Kathleen Sirois poses with some of her jewelry at the Juniper General Store on U.S. Highway 27 west of Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted July 16, 2021 | By Lisa McGinnes, Ocala Gazette

Local artisan crafts unique pieces with materials from across the globe.

Sirois uses elements from all over the world to create pieces like necklaces, earrings and bracelets. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

Unique components from around the world inspire Kathleen Sirois’ handmade jewelry.

One statement necklace she created recently featured an exquisite porcelain dragonfly pendant purchased from an artist in the United Kingdom. Brightly colored earrings might include patterned polymer charms from Canada or polished glass beads from Africa.

“I buy my components from artisans all over the world,” Sirois said. “I like to think out of the box. I like a challenge.”

She prefers to let a centerpiece “simmer” on her worktable until she has a design clearly in mind. And, like many artisans, sometimes the best inspiration strikes in the middle of the night.

“I go to bed thinking about it, and then it’s like, wait a minute, I know what I’m going to do. And then I start going inch by inch of what’s going to happen next. It’s a seed that starts at 3 o’clock in the morning, and then it just keeps going.”

As a necklace, bracelet or set of earrings comes together, she gives it a creative name such as “Red Sky at Night,” “Spring Skies” or “Flower Girls,” and posts photos on Facebook and Instagram.

Both her color palette and metal selections evolved when she and her husband Bill relocated from New Hampshire to Ocala after he retired nearly five years ago.

Kathleen Sirois is reflected in a mirror as she displays some of her jewelry at the Juniper General Store. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

“Up north, all my colors were greens and browns. It’s very earthy and green there. Copper is a warm color and was suitable for New England,” she explained. “Down here, silver is a better-suited metal because of the coolness of it. My colors are completely different. It’s way more ocean rather than just woods and trees.”

Always an arts and crafts enthusiast, Sirois began making jewelry about 12 years ago after she got out of the restaurant business for health reasons. At first, she sold her products at the local farmers’ market. Now her designs are sold at Juniper General Store, the Gallery on Magnolia and Ocala Civic Theatre.

“Women love jewelry,” she said. “It’s a great gift. It’s simple as long as you buy it for the right person.”

Her texture-rich designs incorporate metals, ceramics, leather, glass and polymer. And, she noted, pearls add a lovely feminine touch to her more “girly” pieces.

“I can wear pearls every day,” she said with a laugh. “I’m not afraid to use pearls, and I’m not afraid to wear them.”

It took prompting from a friend to remind Sirois to wear her own designs.

“She said, ‘Kathleen, you never wear your own stuff that you make.’ And I didn’t. I always wore the same gold hoops and same gold heart,” she admitted. “I was like, you’ve got a point there, so I started wearing my own stuff as well.”

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