Spotlight

Natural Beauty

Inspired by the wonders of nature, Liz Floyd uses her own distinctive style to create one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Most of us can remember our first find. It may have been a sand dollar, turtle shell, antler, heart-shaped rock, or even bones. Though we may not have realized it, our eyes sought the extraordinary amidst the ordinary – the beauty in something shed or abandoned. Most of us placed our treasure on a shelf or in a box for safekeeping. Few of us had the vision or talent to reclaim these items and give them new life. Jewelry designer Liz Floyd has both.

I met Liz on a brisk December morning that was not quite sweater weather but too cold for sandals. While Penny, the Jack Russell, enthusiastically greeted me, her two children jumped on the trampoline next to her backyard studio. Her husband, Hunter Floyd, sporting a “Trophy Husband” t-shirt and a twinkle in his eye, provided encouragement from a distance. It was evident that her endeavors were a family affair.
Liz, an artist and naturalist at heart, grew up overlooking Camel Top Mountain in Western Vermont. Her creative soul found balance and harmony in the environment. She was inspired by the imperfection of “organic life,” the colors of the sky, the awkward twisting of a tree branch or ripples in a gently flowing brook.

Liz found her way to South Carolina via the College of Charleston, where she double majored in Art History and Historic Preservation. One of her earliest memories was of sorting through her grandmother’s jewelry box. Combining her education with that fascination, her interest in style, design, and texture, regardless of value, led her to create original designs not found in stores. “I started teaching myself over the years by experimenting with techniques and materials I liked, designs that I wanted to wear.” Her signature look is not about fashion, but rather, the accessories. “I want my jewelry to stand out, to showcase the pieces and not have them lost in the clothes. It’s my way of expressing my style and mood.” Jewelry is Liz’s way of telling the world who she is without words. Self-taught, she designs pieces that speak to and about her in one breath. She aims to give the same voice to those who wear her designs.

Marriage to Hunter brought her to Summerville and jobs that allowed her to grow but did not cultivate her artistic side. Encouraged by friends and family, she continued to make jewelry. Looking back, she views this time as a test. “I knew I needed to make a place for my creative side in some part of my life.” Between the success she found in selling her pieces and her children’s birth, she realized that she could pursue her creative side full time.

Marriage also introduced the artist to the world of ethical, sustenance hunting, which takes an animal for nourishment, not for trophies and awards. As her freezer filled, she noticed the discarded remnants of cut antlers, which she refers to as Deerhorn. She recognized the sliced Deerhorn disks’ uniqueness and immediately saw the potential in incorporating them into her designs. “I remember seeing the cut pieces and thinking while she had seen jewelry made with Deerhorn, using the disks offered something new. I thought I could marry them with trendier designs that people were asking me to make.”

Working with the disks, she became fascinated with the intricacies of each piece. She carefully selects disks for their varying shades of creams and browns, then creates depth and texture by applying different finishes. Once completed, she uses the disks instead of semi-precious stones. They can be found standing alone in her more demure pieces and at the heart of her more elaborate designs. Larger statement pieces are often a combination of Deerhorn, feathers, copper, brass, wood, turquoise, beads, and leather, honoring the animal that graciously feeds her family. The discarded material is repurposed, keeping her grounded, connected with the traditions rooted in past cultures, and still practiced today.

Five years later, she still works at the workstation her husband built for her at-home studio and continues to find inspiration in the beauty of nature. Looking toward the future, she is optimistic and encouraged by her business’s success and has recently launched her own website. Keeping a manageable rein on growth allows her to spend time with her family without losing sight of why she creates. “My focus is to be able to value the time sitting at my workbench, listening to music, and making things I love.” Her pieces are a lot like her—a unique balance of delicacy and strength. They are a subtle homage to Mother Earth and Sister Moon and a tribute to nature and the tranquility it inspires. AM

Find e.k designs locally at Fly, Public Works, Art on the Square, Celedon and Bashful Boutique,
and at ekdesign.com.

by Eliza Bailey