The SUMARIS Story
Susan Littin began creating unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry in 2009, when she noticed a lack of bold, colorful statement jewelry in the marketplace. Inspired and determined to make the type of jewelry she’d love to wear, she set out on a mission to create jewelry herself.
Making jewelry wasn’t a huge leap for Susan - in the past she had studied watercolor painting and dabbled in stained-glass window making. However, after taking many jewelry-making classes and speaking to jewelers, she discovered that creating jewelry seemed more accessible and fun than other art forms.
The Inspiration and Sourcing Process
Susan reads all the fashion magazines and is inspired by the contents of a good book. Her favorite colors are orange and purple, which represent energy and mystery. She also loves all tertiary colors in edgy combinations: she seeks more sizzle and less harmony.
Her personal style icons are Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall, who evoked a rare combination of style and sleek sexiness. Without a doubt, Iris Apfel is her jewelry icon. Iris’ fearless take on accessorizing is exciting. Overall, Susan is drawn to Art Deco and Mid-Century aesthetics.
Each one of Susan’s pieces is made from a unique combination of findings, beads, vintage treasures, and more. To find these items, Susan scours antique shops, tag sales, online outlets, and traditional bead suppliers. Surprisingly, she even checks hardware shops and online industrial suppliers! Her collection of findings is enormous. She just knows when a material is “right”.
The Creative Process
When Susan first started making jewelry, she felt pressured to create more “mainstream” styles. At the time, statement jewelry wasn’t as popular as it is today. But as the years passed, she gained more confidence in her vision and felt empowered to make pieces that stand out in a crowd. For example, she started incorporating more abstract shapes and asymmetry into her designs.
Susan’s design process requires her to keep a huge collection of materials in her studio, and one artifact will pique her interest and start her process. Luckily, she organizes everything by color, so she can experiment as she works. Over time, she’s also learned the best shapes to put together and how to make a piece “lay” on the neck.
In Susan’s studio, design and construction happen simultaneously and take about four hours per piece - sometimes longer. Once Susan thinks she’s done with a piece, she places it on a jewelry bust and “sleeps on it”. Sometimes, she continues revising the piece, and other times she deems it complete.
When a woman puts on a piece of SUMARIS jewelry, she should feel unique and fulfilled, like she can finally wear something that helps her express her individuality. Looking “pretty” shouldn't always be the goal.