Q & A with Brian Sholdt.
Since Brian Sholdt retired from jewelry design in 2013, we thought it would be fun to let everyone know what he has been up to. What inspired this piece, was not just the amount of love and respect that people have for this man. But the general curiosity that people seem to have. “Where is Brian Sholdt?” That is a question that gets asked daily at the jewelry shop in Seattle, Washington. Brian Sholdt took time and care to create beautiful jewelry designs for over 40 years. At Sholdt Jewelry, you don’t just become a customer… you become like family.
1. What is your favorite part of being retired? Sleeping until 7:30am. Calling the shots on how your day is played out is awesome.
2. What educational preparation do you recommend for aspiring jewelry designers? Many jewelers can build a product, but few are actually jewelry designers. A true jewelry designer needs an art school background as well as some technical engineering to making jewelry. Go to Rhode Island School of Design if you can. A jewelry designer must experience all forms of art to have the depth of knowledge to create beautiful jewelry.
3. When did you know that you wanted to get into the family business? When I finished college and needed a job. I had been somewhat groomed into the family jewelry business since I began when I was 13. Being a jewelry designer and working with my parents was a compromise from my art school background, but it was a living.
4. Describe a typical day for you in Twisp, Washington? I get up, have a bowl of homemade oatmeal and usually take in a yoga lush class. (Yogalush is owned by Brian’s wife, Valerie) Following the class I hunker down in my art studio, right next door. If I am not sketching new ideas, I am throwing paint on a canvas. I eat a light lunch there, and head home usually around 3pm. I meditate for 20min and go for a jog or bike ride. At about 6pm, I realize its “beer-thirty” and relax. We usually cook at home. There is a lot of fresh farm food that comes from the Twisp community. My wife and I retire around 8pm with a good Netflix or a juicy soap. And there ya go.. Another day shot to heck!
5. What has been your greatest achievement? My kids. They are the people that made me persevere.
6. Walk me though a favorite project or a part of your life? The healthiest thing I did for myself and my family happened when I was about 50 years old. I reached a point in my life where I needed to figure out who I truly was. I went to Landmark Worldwide in Seattle, Washington and completed the Landmark Forum and the curriculum for living. I continued attending many of the series and seminars they offer for about a year in Seattle, Washington. This training in mindfulness and integrity helped me see a lot more possibility in my life. I have used the tools they have given me to create happiness with everyone that I meet.
7. Describe your creative process? The creative process is mind blowing. As a jewelry designer I created from a philosophy of satisfying particular customers need and at the same time putting my signature spin on those pieces. With jewelry you’re always limited to working within the parameter that one can wear.
8. Tell me about your current paintings? My concepts of how a painting can appear are much different than what I last painted prior to joining the jewelry business in 1972. I’m putting energy on the surface that I hope reflects back to the observer. I’m enjoying using broad gesturing brush strokes to fulfill the intention on the surface.I’m creating pieces without a specific narrative.The abstract art that I’m doing is somewhat aggressive/ although, the subject matter many times is connected to a spiritual philosophy.
9. What inspires you? Everything. More things are inspiring as one grows older. Running on a dirt road and seeing a gravel formation under my foot is inspiring. Maybe the artist in me tunes in to exterior visuals more that the average person.
10. Is there a magic formula for success? Depends on what you brand as success. There’s a lot of wealthy jackasses out there that work very hard or maybe not. Is that success? To me the formula looks like living a life of integrity, respecting everyones differences and always work at what makes you happy. One element is key, if you are lucky enough to know your god given talent you will have a gateway to success.
11. What is the most meaningful piece of jewelry that you own? My wedding ring. It’s the only jewelry that I own. I feel that my wife’s wedding ring is my most meaningful design, but that belongs to her.
12. What is your favorite spot to vacation? I love everywhere I go. I always go to different places. Ana y Jose Hotel in Tulum is Beautiful. Rome and the Amalfi coast is great. New York is awesome. We are planning a two a month trip to India.
13. Which celebrity are you most similar to? Dana Carvey
Editors Note: It was such a pleasure to be able to create this piece about Brian Sholdt. Sholdt Jewelry truly is a family business. Once you purchase a piece of Sholdt Jewelry, it’s like you become family. That’s just the way the Sholdts are, and they have been that way for over 80 years. It’s something that truly sets them apart from other manufactures. We waited to post this until after the Twisp Fires. (There are still 28 fires burning in Washington & Oregon, and we continue to pray for rain) Brian & Valerie’s house was not damaged and they were able to get out of there in time. As Twisp, Washington begins to rebuild its community, I have no doubt that its people like Brian Sholdt that will be there supporting the local business and helping bring life back to this town of under 1,000 people.
Brian- Thank you for you authenticity. -CG