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Old Blood on Dirty Hands, Failed Love and the Evening Sky

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It's typically swarmed by shoppers at craft markets (Clover Market, 30th Street Craft Market, Brooklyn Flea Philly, et al) but jewelry from Old Blood designer Morgan Jamison is conceived from loneliness. Sounds sad, we know, but save your tears; it's all just part of Jamison's design process.

The UArts grad's collection of mixed media treasures has quickly garnered attention since its inception just last year, and according to Jamison, new designs are always in the works: " I haven't run out [of ideas] yet, and I feel like I've just begun," she says. Here, the West Philly denizen dishes on her fashion pet peeves, design roadblocks, and the beauty of getting your hands dirty.

Tell us about your journey to jewelry-making.
The act of making jewelry and body adornment has always been an essential part of my identity as a person. As I pursued my undergrad at University of the Arts, I switched my major to jewelry/metals after only one year in the Theater Design program when I realized I would probably regret trying to always think of jewelry as something I did just for me. I decided then that it was something I should share.

How would you describe your jewelry to the uninitiated?
Bold. Worn. Natural magic. Have you looked at the evening sky?

How do you come up with your designs?
The process is tough to describe! I maintain to this day that I detest drawing, and I do. My ideas usually start during travels or during quiet reflection or writing. Most designs start as a written word or idea, and then I sketch directly in the material. Needless to say, I keep a lot of materials at my disposal in my studio and a very open mind. I listen to really loud music all the time. That's a big part.

What's the most difficult part of the design process? Favorite part?
Curating the work and being critical without being too tough on myself. I keep all the work that missed the mark present in my studio so I can think on how it can be improved. My favorite part of the design process is the abundant feeling of discovery—but I must be in a lonely place to get there.

Who do you envision wearing your jewelry?
I make jewelry for the most resilient of all creatures, women. My intention is to make them feel lifted and powerful as they wear it.

Which pieces from the collection are your personal favorites?
The Slingshot Pendant; Big Dip, Lil' Dip Earrings; and the Ore Pendant. These were lovers. Enough said!

Why do you think your jewelry resonates so well among shoppers?
The main reaction I get to my jewelry when someone sees it for the first time is "This is Different." So I think that's the clearest reason I can come up with as to why it's successful—it's different.

Name one fashion trend you wish would die a slow, painful death.
I'm pretty critical of shoes (wedges, sandals, mandals, heels, neon running shoes). If it were up to me, everyone could only wear boots all the time. Everybody looks good in a good pair of boots. Also, when will the wearing of an over-sized, frumpy vintage dress not be cool anymore? Anyone?

Where do you go in the city when you're craving artistic inspiration?
I leave Philly, actually. If I must stay, I'll go to Bartram's Garden by the river and look at the mess we've made.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?
5 years? I'll be a grown up and have a fully realized body of jewelry. 10 years? I will be a sculpture artist, and I will have something to say.

Do you have advice for aspiring designers?
Get as much experience as you can. Take all opportunities with others as the new thing you will learn today. When you make one of something that moved you, make 100 of them right after that. Chances are it will move you again! When you get one idea, look at it 100 different ways. Get your hands dirty.
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