An Upstate Studio Creates Everyday Objects From Sustainable Materials
Owlkill Studio |
Named for the river running through her backyard in upstate NY, Adelia Sugarman’s one-woman venture, Owlkill Studio, makes jewelry, coasters, and other everyday objects by repurposing local, sustainable materials. “I use vintage beads in my jewelry, scrap leather for my keychains, reclaimed wood for the woodworking, and try to buy local supplies as much as I can,” she says.
In 2013, the printmaker returned to her family home upstate as a temporary solution to exit the grind of retail life. In no time, she had renovated a small studio space in an historic building and began making objects to wear and have around her home—objects which were soon vied for by friends and shop owners alike.
“When I found the studio it was just the corner at the end of a hallway that was being used for storage,” Adelia says of her quaint, minimalist studio. “I feel proud to have turned this little studio into a space that not only serves its intended purpose, but makes me actually want to come spend time in it every day. I guess I could say the same thing about this tiny little business – it’s definitely not easy every day, but it’s always what I want to be doing.”
Adelia’s work can be found in many shops and online for those who, like her, appreciate utility and design details. “I love that I’m at the stage in my business right now where I get to meet most of my customers in person because they get to see exactly who’s making the things they’re buying and have a conversation while they’re making a purchase.”
“The studio is in is an old industrial complex, where many of the walls have a bizarre two toned green color scheme that I’ve always been curious about. I’ve gone back and forth a lot about whether I want to paint them, but I love how much character they have.”
“I wanted to give my business a name that could be adaptable as I develop new lines of products. It’s fun to go back and forth between different types of projects—sometimes I’m in the mood to sit and assemble necklaces for hours, but sometimes it’s just so satisfying to get to hit something with a mallet.”
“My stepfather has been absolutely indispensable in the renovation of the space. Among many other things he’s hung lights, run conduit, and custom built a giant worktable where I can spread out and work on all of my big messy projects. Eventually I plan to host workshops in the studio, and I’ve been slowly collecting a hoard of vintage chairs and stools in preparation.”
“I try to use mainly vintage and reclaimed materials for my products. The leather key fobs are made using US-sourced scrap leather, which is fun to work with because it means that every color is a limited edition.”
“When I was first searching for a studio, I looked at a few storefronts; I liked the idea of having a workspace where people could also come in and shop. The storefront idea didn’t work out, so I set up a little mini-shop that’s always open for locals to come in and browse while I’m working. It’s also great to have a space where I can test drive different display setups for markets.”
“One of my favorites things about the studio is all the different nooks that I’ve been able to create within the space. I bought the pink couch on Craigslist in Rhode Island a few years ago, and I feel like it’s a little girly for my living space, but I love it. Whenever I have people over we always end up gathering in this corner.”
“My favorite space to work in the studio is at my desk where I make all the jewelry. When it’s cold out I put on Nina Simone, throw a sheepskin over my chair and turn on a space heater under the desk at my feet. It’s very cozy.”