Morgan Stroleny loves making things beautiful.
Six months ago, she decided to quit her job as a hairstylist and commit to making clay earrings.
“I decided to take the leap after I got pregnant with my son,” she said. “My daughter is in kindergarten and I wanted to be able to work from home. I tried out a few designs and my husband is the one that said why don’t you just commit to it full time.”
Stroleny explained the process of clay and how hours will pass while she creates handmade pieces one by one.
She said the first part is working the clay in her hands, much like dough.
“Once the dough is soft enough, I can put it through the pasta machine,” she said. “I pass it 30-60 times until it’s flat and nice and there’s no bubbles left. Then I can pick a shape and add textures and details.”
Each piece of jewelry is unique because she designs each one with rollers and tiles and flowers, much like a blank canvas. No two pieces are identical.
The finals steps include putting them in the oven at 275 degrees for an hour with frequent checks to make sure they don’t “get torched”.
“I buff each piece and wipe them down with acetone to get rid of any imperfections,” she said. “Then I can drill holes for studs or rings and cure the backing with epoxy resin. I coat them with glaze and essential oils for that shiny look. Then I package them.”
Stroleny said her packing process is personal and spends extra time placing each piece in boxes with cards and cloths and care instructions. Each package arrives carefully finessed.
“It makes me so happy that people love my jewelry,” she said. “It takes me hours to come up with designs and I’m in my own world back here creating pieces. So when my customers tell me they love it or send me photos wearing them, it means the world to me.”
Stroleny said the support she received from her family and friends, as well as the “clay community” made the choice to run a business a lot easier.
“We empower each other and give each other tips,” she said. “I know I can count on them and my family for help and guidance. It gives me the opportunity to be an artist and the freedom to create.”
Stroleny said she tries to plan for her growing collections every few weeks and has reveals on her Facebook, Instagram and web site.
She sells her collections at local boutiques and through her web site, but also delivers local orders personally.
“I got interested in clay jewelry because heavy jewelry was giving me migraines,” she said. “My jewelry is plastic based, and they are very lightweight. It’s nice to be able to wear huge earrings that don’t weigh anything.”
Stroleny said the clay community has so much room for growth and she is excited about the future of her jewelry business.
“It’s so rewarding to be able to do what I love,” she said. “Out of all the jewelry in the world, they picked mine. That’s my heart. They ask for custom pieces to coordinate with dresses for pageants, prom or weddings and it’s an honor to create something as beautiful as them.”