my grandmother has always been with me. she passed away several years before I was even born, but she has always been with me. she is Zella Woods - the original inspiration and namesake for ZELLA WOODS collective.
the original Zella was an immaculate no-fuss kind of lady. impeccable hair, fitted shirtwaist dress, and apron - always. like many women of her generation, she looked her best all the time. even when she would spend the entire day in the kitchen cooking and keeping after a house her family called home. that used to be the norm, and it was an under-appreciated art how some women made it look so easy. Zella was one of those women. she was a masterpiece.
since all I have of her is pictures, growing up I always noticed how glamorous she looked. the black rimmed glasses, the single strand of pearls, the sparkling rhinestone brooch, and the beautiful diamond solitaire wedding ring. all simple pieces but she wore them with such elegance. it is why they are classics of vintage design. they were pieces that made a statement all their own; and that is the sentiment I strive to create in the jewelry I design and craft myself.
knowing her through those pictures is how I fell in love with all things mid-century vintage. it was her era as a wife, mother, and grandmother. it is in that setting that I still see her today whenever I think of her. working with jewelry from that time period gives me that connection to the grandmother who has always been with me. but designing jewelry that makes that statement for the modern woman is what i hope to achieve in my own work.
the middle man.
as the owner, maker, and curator behind ZELLA WOODS collective, this business is a huge part of my life and one that is established in love - my love for family, love for travel, love for design, and above all love for God. these are the things in life that inspire and challenge me. incorporating these into a means of expression through jewelry is part of what makes me so passionate about what I do.
the motivation behind Z|W is to make jewelry that people treasure like memories. pieces that speak to the individual rather than the masses. I have jewelry that was my moms or grandmothers and when I wear it, it is special. it reminds me of them and puts a smile on my face knowing how much I love them and how much I am loved by them. I get the same kind of feeling when I wear the bracelet or earrings I wore on my wedding day. it takes me back to that moment of overwhelming joy that I felt when I said 'I do.'
now there is my daughter, the other Zella. one day I will pass my jewelry onto her and I want it to be filled with meaning. I want her to understand the love that goes into making things by hand and restoring old things that have a story all their own. I want her to see even the smallest details in life, like the jewelry you wear, are an opportunity to honor God.
this is what makes me the middle man. I stand somewhere between the vintage glamour of the original Zella and the next generation to carry her name - and I choose to translate that lineage of love through the jewelry I make and the goods other artisans craft with care and tradition.
the latest addition.
when my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we knew our whole lives were about to change. ZELLA WOODS collective became more than a labor of love, it became the potential means for me to work from home and raise our baby girl. becoming a mom gave me a whole new perspective and yet another source of inspiration. decorating her nursery, framing her first baby pictures, watching her play dress-up in my jewelry - all of these things became memories that inspired me in so many ways.
every first as a mom is special. when you hang their first mobile or put their first tiny pair of shoes away in the closet. when they take their first steps or say their first words. those are memories that every mom treasures and carries with her for life. that is why I make things for moms in the Z|W custom series that celebrate and embody the most cherished moments of motherhood.
because the unconditional love a mother feels for her child is a universal language all it's own, Z|W introduced our first global initiative with imported crib shoes for babies and toddlers from Tibet. in addition to the items I make, we have continued to source a limited selection of handmade goods from artisans in regions around the world, allowing their trade to help support the families they love. this is where our heart ultimately hopes to see ZELLA WOODS collective grow; to enrich the lives of other artisans and empower change that ensures the tradition of handmade craft continues for generations among the magnificent culture of these global communities.