Last Friday when I was posting on Linkedin, something caught my eye. It was a rather large, interesting ring that Angel Russell had for her profile picture. Interest piqued, I googled her business, Sparrow Made Co. Turns out that she lives and works on the Vineyard, and was willing to meet with me to talk about the ring I saw and her jewelry collection.
So, I met Angel at her home/studio in West Tisbury. In true Vineyard fashion, it turns out that Angel and I know each other from Offshore Ale where I waitress. I have waited on her and her boyfriend, Adam, dozens of times. But here I was in her home, learning about her life and her jewelry.
Angel moved to the Vineyard full time about five years ago. Before that, she had spent a couple of Summers here and hopped around to different places during the Winter months, to places like L.A., Seattle, Portland, Manhattan, and Orlando. However, Martha’s Vineyard was where Angel felt most at home.
Shortly after she moved here, she became quite sick, and was bed-ridden for almost a full year. Within that painful time, she began investing time in learning about the foods she was eating. With this came a change in diet, and a change in where she got her food.
She began working with Jefferson Monroe, who raises roosters and processes chicken on the Island. Angel wanted to have a better connection with her food. Having a deep respect for the animals she helped raise, she saved the roosters feathers.
From these feathers, she started making feather earrings. Her earrings were a hit, and I should also mention they were cruelty free. She made dozens of earrings from the rooster from the farm. She was selling out of them faster than she could make them. Also at the time, Angel was touring with Island songstress, Nina Violet. Angel played the trumpet in her band, and then after the show, would sell Nina’s CD’s and her own feather earrings.
Interesting how an illness can lead to something totally amazing like making jewelry. Making the jewelry was part of her healing process. When she was a little girl, her father had always inspired her to create with her hands, and she found a new way to do just that.
Angel still makes amazing feather earrings but has diversified quite a bit. Many of her pieces are quite bold and can be considered statement pieces. For her, the jewelry is for “your inner goddess.”
This year, her pieces are inspired by the sunrise and the ocean. Angel takes the ferry off Island twice a week early in the morning to attend school for a degree in Art Therapy.
Each morning when the ferry sails away from Vineyard Haven Harbor, Angel takes in the colors and the feel of the beginning of the new day. The way the water sparkles when the sun shines on it. The deep purples, and blues, and shimmery gold — all help lead her to new designs.
One of her newest designs, the Pebble Bracelet, which comes in silver, gold, or pewter is one of my favorites. It actually reminds me of the shiny pebbles you would find on the beach and take home to remind you of how much you love the Vineyard.
I have a silver one, and am actually the first person to wear one. What an honor! It’s one of those pieces that makes you smile because of what it reminds you of. The beads she uses for these bracelets are hard to come by. They are German made – resin, plated in metal. They truly look like pebbles!
Many of her beaded pieces contain the blues and purples from the sunrise on the water, and of course, there are some great pops of orange too. There are also the most amazing beige beads that are the color of sand.
I have to write about the ring that caught my eye. It is a large piece of agate on hammered brass or copper rings. They are very bold and very cool. The rings are even more amazing in person, but are a little wild for me.
I am super conservative with most of my jewelry, but I did like the rings a lot. They are in line with Angel’s Armor Collection which consists of hammered copper bracelets and rings, inspired by what women wore in Ancient Greece.
Angel also makes the sweetest heart earrings. These come in lots of different sizes, and are very easy to add to your everyday look. I really liked these too.
I also have to mention here Animal Totem collection. These are whimsical and fun, and 20% of the purchase goes to the World Wildlife Fund. Angel believes in doing whatever she can to help raise the awareness of how animals are treated, and this is just one more way of doing her part.
Why Sparrow Made Co. for the name? Well, it’s really a long story, but here’s an abridged version. Sparrows have a pecking order, with names for the hierarchy, like general and sergeant. As a woman of many artistic talents, Angel is also a musician with her own recording label, Sargent Sparrow. Sparrow Made Co. is derived from that name.
Where can you find Sparrow Made Co. jewelry? On Martha’s Vineyard, it can be found at Citrine, Main Street, Vineyard Haven. Not in the neighborhood, you can buy pieces through Etsy, Shop Sparrow Made Co. or her website where you’ll find all the different collections of Sparrow Made Co. There are even more than I mention. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Sometimes it’s difficult for me to capture the essesence of a person in a thousand words, and Angel Russell is one of those people who has a diverse, interesting life. I feel as though I could write a book with all of the experiences that she has had over the years. But for now, I am so glad to have met her, and share a small piece of her story with you, and of course introduce you to Sparrow Made Co.