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Behind The Scenes

Sara’s Thriftspiration

Before Oregon-based accessory designer Sara Dudzinsky got really into crystals, she was crafting her pieces around found objects. “I came across a little bag of quartz on a thrifting trip, and it’s taken off from there,” she explains. Even though her sourcing has gone a different direction now, she still hunts for knick-knacks (a process she calls “calming and restorative”) that influence her work—and fill her studio. “My boyfriend got the jeweler sign for me at a thrift store for my birthday—it’s hand-painted. There are a ton of vintage shops in Portland, and he bought this at SMUT.”“This is my favorite thing right now. It was a geologist’s case, and it looks handmade—like, stapled together. It has 64 drawers, 32 on each side. I got it at a weird antique furniture place that has all sorts of crazy pieces, and it’s perfect for me because I use so many little parts. I’m not the most organized person, but I love to be methodical with my materials, lay everything out.”“These aren’t thrifted, but I’ve had those crystal pieces forever. I got them when I was seven or eight at the Museum of Natural History. I guess I’ve always been kind of a rock nerd.” “My collection of tiny deer is kind of out of hand. It started a couple of years ago, right after I moved to Oregon. In my old apartment, I had all of the deer crammed onto the top of this bookshelf—they were out all the time, which drove my boyfriend crazy. So this year they all came out at Christmas, and I have some of them in my studio. These are my current favorites. The baby is the size of my pinkie nail. They’re so tiny it’s ridiculous.” Sara has created an exclusive pair of crystal earrings for Of a Kind. Buy them right here.
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The Tools that Won Sara Dudzinsky’s Heart

At first, constructing jewelry was plain boring for Sara Dudzinsky, who makes stunning, petite pieces out of her Portland, Oregon, studio. “When I was in school, I remember taking a production class and hating it—and thinking I could never make the same thing a million times in a row,” she explains. “But that’s what I’m doing, and I love it.” Now, she finds the intensity—and the hard-core tools—tremendously alluring. These are four devices that she can’t wait to play with day in and day out. Check out the limited-edition earrings she made with this tool set (just for us!) here. Pliers: “I use them for everything, even just folding bezels around a stone. I’m very adept with pliers. I use two at once a lot—one in each hand.” Jeweler’s Saw: “That’s used for cutting little pieces out. When I make a ring with a crystal, I form the bezel around the crystal, solder it down onto a flat sheet, and then cut out the band.” A stack of some of Sara’s rings, one with a dangling crystal. Hammers: “A lot of my necklaces have a little geometric-shape detail, and I’ve started to do some free-form bangles. For those, I take wire, bend it into a shape with pliers, solder the ends, and hammer them flat. I have some shapes that I’m going off of, but I like each one to be unique.” Torch and Striker: “I get the tank for my torch from a welder’s supply store, so it looks kind of like a cast-iron helium tank. It has a little regulator on it and a torch chip. So I turn it on, strike the striker, and out comes the flame. That’s probably my favorite part of doing the metal work—the fire. It’s a significant part of the process because almost everything that I do has at least one soldered joint.”
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Sara Dudzinky’s Six Portland Restaurant Picks

Clyde Commons, Sara’s second place of business What does Sara Dudzinsky do when she isn’t working? She works—as a food runner at one of Portland’s hot-restaurant mainstays, Clyde Common. “I get tunnel vision and stay in the studio all day. I work at the restaurant to get out of the house,” says the jewelry maker. Plus, her very part-time gig makes for good bonding with the boyfriend—he’s a sous chef at another local star, Park Kitchen. “We look at our approaches to our crafts in similar ways. Both of us have a product that we want to be marketable but still be new and exciting,” Sara explains. Here’s where she eats when she’s not working or working. Le Pigeon“I’m a sucker for rich, buttery food. I love sweet breads. My favorite place in Portland is La Pigeon. My boyfriend actually worked there for a while.”(738 E. Burnside St., 503-546-8796; lepigeon.com) Meat Cheese Bread“It’s run by a friend of mine, and he’ll make any sandwich into a salad, which is pretty awesome. They have a really great breakfast burrito, and I love the BLB, a bacon, lettuce, and beet sandwich. They use tomatoes in the summertime, but in the winter they switch to roasted beets.”(1406 SE Stark St., 503-234-1700; meatcheesebread.com) Clyde Common“I’ve been there for 2 ½ years. They’ve changed their menu a bunch of times, and I’ve just never gotten sick of their food.”(1014 SW Stark St., 503-228-3333; clydecommon.com) Pok Pok“It’s Southeast Asian and always packed—you have to wait an hour no matter what day of the week.  Go at 5p unless you’re a single and can sit at the bar.”(3226 SE Division St., 503-232-1387; pokpokpdx.com) Park Kitchen“My boyfriend is the sous there!”(422 NW 8th Ave., 503-223-7275; parkkitchen.com) Broder“It’s a Swedish place that’s just open for lunch and brunch—9a to 3p. It’s adorable and really Scandinavian—clean lines and teal and yellow stools.”(2508 SE Clinton St., 503-736-3333; broderpdx.com) Sara of Better Late Than Never made some awesome earrings just for us! Check them out here.
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