Growing up I was always elbows deep involved in some creative endeavor and from an early age I knew that I wanted to be a maker. After graduation from North Carolina School of the Arts with a diploma in the applied arts I attended East Carolina University where I received a BFA in Metal design in 2001. From the first metals survey course I was hooked on metal-smithing, enamored by the malleability of the metal. After graduation I began teaching metal-smithing and jewelry fabrication courses at the local community college. Teaching became an integral part of my creative life.
In 2004 I decided to return to my roots as a maker and founded Erica Stankwytch Bailey Jewelry. In a tiny studio nestled in the backyard of my home in Fayetteville, North Carolina I became the owner, operator, designer and maker of my own handmade business, a dream come true. In the years that have followed my contemporary sterling silver jewelry has found its way around the world. The business is growing and the work is constantly evolving. In 2014 I was given the amazing opportunity to move my family to Asheville, North Carolina, where we now live happily adjusting to the splendor of mountain living. My life today is comprised of creative days in my studio, cherished time with my children, adventures on the road, and quiet moments reflecting on the inspirations found in the smallest of things.
My work is both organic and architectural, and is created from the visual fragments of a life of collecting images. I inspect the world in great detail and have always collected shells, seedpods, stones and interesting organic elements. My studio often resembles a laboratory with trays of specimens lined in rows. The walls and pages of my sketchbook are covered with myriad images of my world from nano-photography of plant life to the expansiveness of the Grand Canyon. In designing, making and living I see a strong relevance for the smallest things within the larger context; the seed that becomes a plant, the jewelry on the wearer, our planet within the universe. I use a variety of techniques in an effort to create pieces that are tactile and invoke in the wearer a sense of personal attachment.