My Story

A few years ago I spent a magical month in France with my family and a few close friends. During our stay, we visited a tiny, ancient mountaintop commune called Les Baux-de-Provence in southern France. We spent the day exploring the ruins of the hilltop castle, enjoying breathtaking views and chasing my then 8-year-old son along the twists and turns of the narrow cobblestone streets, excited to see what we’d discover around each corner.

One of those discoveries was a stand that was selling jewelry, and I purchased a bracelet that I wore almost daily for the next two years. I absolutely loved this bracelet, for the memories it evoked and for its uniqueness – I’d never seen another piece like it. Although I’ve dabbled in a number of careers, from sales and marketing, to working as a community college personal/guidance counselor and then eventually staying at home with my young son, over the last few years I’ve been yearning to create and build, to use my hands. That part of me, the artist, the creator, the builder, had been lost for many years.

When I was a kid, like most children, I was oozing with creativity, acting in school plays and even winning a school art contest or two. I was an artist then. But over the years that part of me was lost, buried deep down behind “the need to pick a real major” in college, and get a “real job,” once I graduated.

Fast forward to my trip to France and my bracelet, which spoke to me. The funny thing is, I’ve never really been a jewelry kind of girl. I don’t wear earrings and only wear necklaces on occasion. Bracelets were always a bust because I have the world’s tiniest wrists – they were always too big. But this bracelet miraculously fit, and I absolutely loved it. It was a bit chunky and I felt powerful, like Wonder Woman with her magical cuff. I clearly have a rich fantasy life! That said, there was something truly magnificent about my bracelet, beyond its leather and metal components, and I was mesmerized. It was as though this bracelet was telling me that I had a mission to accomplish. So eventually, I listened.

The combination of my emerging need to create and the fact that my bracelet was so unique and unusual, led me to some tinkering. I was truly on a mission, and thought about design day and night. I eventually crafted a few pieces that I liked, with hopes of others’ appreciating them, too. I began selling my designs in my hometown of San Jose during in the summer of 2015, and was happy to discover that I wasn’t the only one to appreciate my jewelry.

My wish is that as you wear my designs, they inspire you too, and serve as your own personal Wonder Woman cuff, reminding you of life’s magical possibilities, and your own powerful, courageous and beautiful inner Joan of Arc.

Avec amour,

Susie Gaffney
Founder, Joan of Artware