in nature and art.
Express your individuality, remember a loved one, or celebrate a special occasion with jewelry from our Rachel Atherley collection.
Rachel Atherley's Background
Rachel was born and raised on a small organic family farm in Stevensville, Montana. She received her BFA in metalsmithing from Montana State University and her MFA in metalsmithing from SUNY New Paltz. Rachel stayed in the Hudson Valley after falling in love with the fantastic beauty of the region.
Finding work as an assistant to a few jewelry designers in the area helped Rachel fine-tune her skills and learn about the overall business of jewelry design. From there, she was able to create her own collection and become a designer.
Learn more about Rachel Atherley by clicking below.
There are so many reasons why I became a designer. Deep down, I believe it was in my DNA. I was always making things as a child. Birdhouses, tiny glass jewelry boxes complete with hinges and all, paintings, ceramics, and, of course, jewelry.
I went to college for the arts, believing I would be a painter or ceramicist. But once I was introduced to metalsmithing, there was no turning back. I was completely enamored by the craft. Art students are constantly told they are going to fail or starve. So, I decided I would get my MFA so I could teach on the collegiate level. I could at least have some money while at the same time create the art that I so badly wanted to make.
After graduating from SUNY New Paltz, I was lucky enough to land an adjunct position there while assisting a jewelry designer. After the first year, I knew for sure my future was in jewelry design. I realized I would be combining teaching and designing when I handed down the knowledge I had to my future assistants. All things fell into place from there.
I am completely inspired by nature and art. Nature is so perfect in its imperfections and art re-interprets those nuances to make us feel and think on a deeper level. I love to take something in nature that inspires me and discover the simplest elements of that inspiration that truly make it sing.
For instance, the slender taper of the shaft of a feather is all that is needed to invoke the idea of a feather. When placed upon a slice of stone, you don’t need anything else. The fanning out of pear-shaped stones side by side from smallest to largest and back again reminds one of the elegant fan of a peacock’s tail.
My collection means so many different things to me. It is a piece of me. It is the freedom to express myself and, at the same time, make a living. I love to wear the pieces and see how the designs are interpreted by others. I get to work with my hands, my mind, and my creative spirit every single day. My collection provides me with a meaningful way to express myself that in turn is cherished by the owner and ultimately passed down to someone special in their lives. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I have come to appreciate so many things about the connection of jewelry to us as humans. In many ways it is sacred. It is worn to express individuality, to remember someone, to mourn someone, to mark your love of someone, or memorialize an accomplishment, anniversary, or birthday. I have had such a wonderful opportunity to quietly walk with my customers on many different journeys. Some are the greatest moments of their lives and some are the most despairing. No matter what the journey is, I hope the jewelry brings them joy, or peace, or some kind of feeling of strength in their lives.
I had of course hoped to get on Bob and Rose-Marie’s radar at one point. I admired the incredible designers that they currently represent and wanted to be a part of their beautifully curated gallery. Also, we share a similar goal of creating pieces with a mindfulness of the way in which they are made and resourced. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to join a collective of designers out there who understand and respect the global community at large.