LOCAL JEWELRY DESIGNER, NICOLE BRACEY TALKS LOCAL FOOD, EVERY DAY INSPIRATION AND OF COURSE HER AWESOME DESIGNS
A few months ago, a friend and I were browsing through a local, independent market in the city called Market Collective. The market occurs on one weekend every two months and its purpose is to promote local arts and culture, and to engage and empower the community towards positive growth. The market has grown over several years and you can find many local artists, designers and food vendors sharing their products with Calgarians in the three day event. It really is where Calgary’s local art and culture collides for three days and it showcases some amazing local business owners. If you haven’t been, I would highly recommend it.
It was at this Market Collective, back in March, that the Salt Water Tea booth caught my eye. I had been curiously perusing the many isles of handmade goods going back and forth, telling myself I could look but really didn’t need to buy anything, except, well maybe coffee, that was a must. After scanning some of the jewelry booths, something caught my attention at one in particular.
I have always loved the natural look and had a sincere appreciation for jewelry with stones and subtle statements. Nicole Bracey, local Calgary designer and owner of Salt Water Tea jewelry had such an elegant display and her agate pieces on simple chains really grabbed my attention. It was a tough decision but I finally made up my mind. Now, the piece I bought a few months ago (pictured above) from Nicole is a staple in my every day outfits, no matter if I am going to work or just to the grocery store.
I think it is so awesome, the great talent and culture that is present in Calgary, and I wanted to share a little bit about Nicole and her designs.
Nicole Bracey, designer and owner of Salt Water Tea started her business in 2014. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design with a degree in fine arts in 2013, with a major in drawing. Originally, Nicole had started out sharing her drawings and sculptural work but decided she wanted to take the leap and get back into jewelry. Her designs can now be found locally and in various stores in Canada as well as on her Etsy store.
Q & A WITH NICOLE BRACEY, DESIGNER AND OWNER OF SALT WATER TEA
To start, a few fun questions to get to know Nicole:
Q: What is the first app you check in the morning? Instagram, Facebook, Email, Etc. and why?
A: Definitely email. I’m always checking to see if any new markets have sent out vendor calls, or if any other opportunities have presented themselves.
Instagram comes next. It is such a great networking opportunity. I check for markets and check and see what my fellow artists and friends are up to!
Q: Favourite restaurant in Calgary?
A: Dairy Lane Cafe! My boyfriend and I go at least once a week.
(I couldn’t agree more! It’s one of my favourites too! Go there!!)
Q: Favourite travel destination?
A: My favourite place I’ve been so far is definitely Australia. But, I love going to BC to visit my best friends.
Q: After a long day crafting your jewels, what do you do to unwind or relax?
A: I binge watch Netflix with a cup of tea and cuddle with my dog!
Now, more about the business and designs:
Q: What is your source of inspiration?
A: I’m mostly inspired by nature, the mountains and the natural shapes and colours of gemstones.
Q: The name, Salt Water Tea, is there a specific meaning behind it?
A: Yes! One of the ways you can cleanse gemstones is by steeping them in salt water. (Although I do not recommend this process for your jewelry!)
Q: Can you explain a little bit about the types of jewelry you design and what materials you use?
A: I like to make jewelry that everyone can wear! I want you to be able to dress it up and down. I want the design to be a little different, something trendy and unusual, but suitable for every day wear. I love using crystals, chunky chain, rope and brass accents to create my pieces!
Q: Do you have any favourite materials to use?
A: I guess overall I would say gemstones and crystals are my favourite materials. I also tend to go through phases when I work, so each collection is a little different. Right now I’m loving cotton rope!
Q: What started you on the path to designing your own jewelry to sell? Was this a lifelong dream or did you kind of stumble into it?
A: I’ve always made jewelry in some form or another. I have bead work from when I was a little girl. When I went to ACAD I took a few silversmithing classes, but wound up majoring in drawing. After graduating, I did a couple of exhibitions showing some drawing and sculptural work, and I just wasn’t happy. I started expanding back into jewelry and it just clicked for me!
(She is also launching a men’s line, this year!)
Q: You travel some, to showcase and sell the jewelry you make, are there any favourite spots or markets that you have visited?
A: I do a lot of markets in Calgary, but I often go to Edmonton for some of their markets including On the Spot Pop Up and this winter I’ll be doing my first Make it, which I’m REALLY excited for! I also recently went to Kelowna for their Craft Culture show, which was a great experience. But, I do I feel super fortunate that we have so many amazing markets here in Calgary, like Market Collective!
Q: Where can people purchase your jewelry?
A: Online in my Etsy store (saltwatertea.etsy.com), in the Crafted Truck, Peacock Boutique, Rewind and Fallen Angel in Calgary. My designs are also in Make New in Halifax and Olive & Elle in Kelowna! My website also always has an updated list of which market or festival I’m going to be at next as well!
*All photos supplied by Nicole Bracey of Salt Water Tea.