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Behind The Scenes

Meet Dirty Librarian Chains

Susan Domelsmith’s line of recycled vintage pieces, Dirty Librarian Chains, has a sort of classic jewelry-world origin story—in that the unintentional demand for her pieces was what led her to it. “In college in Austin, I was working at a vintage store, so I would rework clothing. But for some reason, my brain doesn’t deal with three-dimensional designs as well,” she explains. “I was in art school at the time, focused on painting and drawing. I decided to start playing around with necklaces—it was like drawing with chain. The draping and tangling felt more natural to me. A friend asked me for some, then another friend, and eventually stores and magazines—it just sort of grew organically.” And while the early success flowed easily, the metal-loving designer has done a lot to push things forward since then. She uprooted her life, moving from TX to NY and working for Built by Wendy on the side until she could focus on designing chunky bracelets and sourcing reclaimed beads full-time. She’s collaborated with other sustainability-focused designers like Tara St. James of Study, as well as artists like her photog boyfriend Peter Beste. She’s also fallen back in love with the line’s name after a stint of referring to it as DLC. “I came up with it when I was 23! It has evolved, but here I am seven years later.” Susan’s line has come a long way since those early days. Score one of her very latest creations—an awesome mixed-metal necklace—right over here.
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Susan Domelsmith's Ultimate Guide to Austin

Susan DJing at now-closed Caucus Club during her Austin days—she and three friends had a weekly party there. Though Susan Domelsmith feels right at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, these days—she’s been working from the same shared studio space for four years now—she can’t help but be nostalgic for the place where she came of age and started Dirty Librarian Chains, her collection of  big, bold jewelry re-made from vintage finds. These are the things on her agenda and the places she hits whenever she heads west. Eating Tacos: “Tex-Mex is my favorite food. I kind of grew up on that. An old favorite is Curra’s. They have the best potato and cheese breakfast tacos, and they have this roasted red pepper salsa, which I’d just die for. And then there’s Torchy’s, which just opened up recently, that has a fried avocado taco that is really greasy and good. I’ll go for consecutive meals—like, ‘Where am I going to eat my five tacos today?’” (Curra’s Grill: 614 E. Oltorf St., 512-444-0012; currasgrill.com; Torchy’s Tacos: multiple locations; torchystacos.com) Thrifting: “Savers on South Lamar is where I bought my very first gold-chain necklace that I turned into Dirty Librarian Chains. I always find some really good shoes there. Some friends from college started this vintage store New Bohemia—they also opened up a men’s store called New Brohemia, which is really funny. They have really great taste, and they keep expanding and opening new locations—I’m so proud of them.” (Savers Thrift Stores: 4001 S. Lamar Blvd., 512-442-8011; savers.com; New Bohemia: 1606 S. Congress Ave., 512-326-1238; New Brohemia: 2209 S. 1st St., 512-804-0988) Playing in the Water: “We would always go to Sculpture Falls. The water has carved out these rocks where you sit. The water flows into it, and it’s really bubbly—it’s like a natural hot tub. And I really miss tubing down the Guadalupe River, getting a bunch of friends together and hanging out for the day. Then there’s Barton Springs [pictured above], of course. It’s a spring-fed swimming pool, and a lot of people go there. It’s kind of magical.” Catching Some Music: “Emo’s is a good standby for live music—it has a lot of good punk shows, a lot of good indie shows. I’ve been there countless times and have seen Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Unwound, The Make-Up, and so many that I can’t remember. Maybe one day my band will get to play there.” (Emo’s: 603 Red River, 512-505 8541; emosaustin.com) Get your hands one Susan’s second Of a Kind edition now! The mixed metals in her necklace will go with everything in your closet.
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Susan Domelsmith Makes Old Jewelry New (and Cool) Again

Instead of casting forms from scratch, Susan Domelsmith works from found chains, beads, and pendants to create jewelry that feels entirely new, mixing metals and shapes to give Dirty Librarian Chains a certain octogenarian-takes-the-L-train effect. Here, two old-school components she uncovered to make her very first Of a Kind edition. Susan is back! And we couldn’t be more thrilled. Click her to score the second edition she make for Of a Kind—the first one went fast! “I started off small, going to thrift stores and using eBay and stuff, but then I kind of grew out of that. It takes a lot of time to find the right materials that way. These hexagonal guys—I found them in Providence, Rhode Island, at a jewelry factory that closed. Providence is where a lot of the jewelry manufacturing was done in the U.S. before it moved overseas—mainly to China. There are a lot of factories that have closed down that still have all these components around.” “I actually have had this chain for a while. I bought it from this woman in Florida—I’ve never met her, but she emails me photos whenever she has chain she thinks I’ll like. She goes to a lot of estate sales. I’ve been holding onto it for the perfect purpose, and I finally found it.”
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