Jewelry maker Sally Tvedt lives on a farm and ranch near Ypsilanti, ND, where she and her husband raise horses and Sally creates bold and striking designs from semi-precious stones like turquoise and jasper for her shop, The SASSY RANCH.
I found Sally’s work on her Facebook page and I was struck by how she combines elements that I associate with traditional Western style (turquoise, beads, Native American imagery, prominent pendants) with earthy stones and funky details.
The SASSY RANCH also sells scarves and other items, but today I’m talking with Sally about how she creates her statement-making handmade jewelry. It’s a subject she’s passionate about.
She’s been making jewelry for over ten years, creating even in the midst of a personal tragedy, and she says her work is always evolving and changing.
She names every piece she makes and does custom orders as well. She has been making jewelry for about ten years and she takes great pride in helping her customers (who she affectionately calls her “SASSY girls”) from all over the world find the perfect piece.
How do you describe your jewelry?
“The art I do is often described as wearable art. It is a unique, eclectic style of handmade jewelry. I call it western/cowgirl but it actually crosses the line into an urban style.
My pieces can range from Urban Cowgirl, with several strands of beads with unique pendants, to totally funky, fun, one-of-a-kind pieces that you will not find anywhere else. I also do custom pieces and feel I am very reasonable in pricing for the quality.”
What materials do you use?
“I use a lot of turquoise and jasper…it really varies..metals and handmade clay beads in funky, fun ways. I have to devote much time to finding really neat beads. Without them, my work would be blah — like everyone else’s.”
What’s your favorite piece that you made this year?
“Oh golly, how do you pick a favorite? Probably the Chief necklaces — they are really popular right now. I am honored that some of my SASSY Native American girls are wearing them also.
I do a few parties and also sell wholesale to dealers and stores — but mainly Facebook.”
Tell us a little bit about your current customers.
“That is as broad a range as the styles I do. Cowgirls, rodeo queens and mainstream girls… my creations are so unique they really can fit in any lifestyle.”
What kind of person is drawn to your jewelry?
“Young and old.. anyone who loves something made by hand with quality materials… someone who is not faint of heart.. who loves something totally unique and beautiful … who loves life and wants to get noticed. It is amazing how many people will ask them about their jewelry.”
What’s your workspace like?
“We had a house fire in March of 12, which resulted in buying a different farm. I now have the beadroom I dreamed of. I can go back in there and create to my hearts content and my husband George often will come back and keep me company.
I so enjoy going into my bead room and just creating. I look at many things for inspiration; beautiful skies, our newborn quarter horses for colors — everything.”
How do you balance your jewelry business work with other obligations?
“This is my work, other than helping with the quarter horses we raise. Ironically.. we have also been fortunate to sell some of them thru social media too.
In fact, one of my first SASSY girls from Nevada came with her family to purchase a couple of our horses in 2012 and 2013 and is planning a return trip this year, so both the jewelry and our horses really go hand in hand and both make our lives so interesting.”
What makes your job fun and interesting?
“I had a dealer in Australia — her little daughter called and wished my Merry Christmas a couple of years ago. I have friends and SASSY Girls all over the US and some in the UK and Canada who I have never met, but feel I know them. It has truly been a gift.
We were at a horse sale in Oklahoma quite a few years ago. At that time i sold on eBay. I saw a gal with a necklace like I make, so I approached her and asked her where she got it. She said ‘eBay — the SASSY RANCH.’ I told her that was me! She went wild. It was fun.”
What do you need to live a creative life?
“To live a creative life you have really love it. I could work on jewelry 24 -7, I think, it is my passion. You also have to ignore my messy work desk (it drives my husband nuts) but he just shrugs and walks away.
You have to LOVE it — which I do.”
The SASSY RANCH