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Marisa Howard is an expert in silver linings, and not just because she regularly solders shiny stuff into striking linear jewelry. In 2010, the Oregon native was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and was left feeling exhausted from the constant travel that her job in commercial lighting required. So she quit and devoted the break to her longtime jewelry-making hobby—which is what it was until she brought her designs to a craft show and quickly sold every last thing on her table. The rush of sales came as a surprise to Marisa, who’s more comfortable with taking it slow. As she says, “I love the idea of things taking on a life over time. I deeply appreciate objects from the past and the story behind them.”
A year later, she launched her line, Seaworthy, in earnest—and now employs a team of five at her workshop and showroom in Portland, turning out pieces like slim, tuning-fork-shaped earrings and breastplate necklaces, inspired by her love of architecture. “The moment when I began to create jobs was a big turning point. The women that we sell to, the suppliers, the entire community involved gives me purpose as a designer,” Marisa explains. Just goes to show—sometimes there are a few sunny skies lurking behind those clouds. —katie nave-freeman
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With their powers combined...