House of Metalworks

American Made Since 2012

Jill Italiano

Macungie, Pennsylvania
I started my company with metal that was discarded. I hand forge inspirational jewelry from reclaimed metals.
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Tell us about your business.

I am a formally trained chef but found I preferred designing plates more than cooking. I found a job working for a gold jewelry importer and with that I fell in love with making jewelry. I formally trained in metalwork at the Silvermine Guild in New Canaan, CT, and founded Jill.i Designs. Within its short years Jill.i Designs was featured in magazines such as Bazaar, Red Book, Cosmopolitan, WWD, Lucky, New York and sold in Galleries across the US and Canada including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was then offered a position with a CFDA jewelry designer in NYC and jumped at the chance to learn. I became the Studio Director and Metalsmith. While at work one day I found a box of discarded metals from another designer’s scraps and was inspired to begin the House of Metalworks. I started focusing full time on the House of Metalworks as of August 2013. I eventually want to grow my home based studio into a store front and learning center in my home town ~ Emmaus, PA.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

My studio is based in my unfinished basement in my home. I have piece by piece purchased and borrowed equipment as needed. I have a torch, a few tumblers, rolling mill, metal furnace and a flex shaft. I have pieced the studio furniture together from tag sales.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by all things vintage and interesting. I love walking flea markets and looking at estate sales finding jewelry from the past. I love seeing how metalsmiths of the past created their work and what methods they used. I am also very grateful for all my fellow handmade and vintage collector friends on Etsy. They keep me excited everyday seeing what they create.

What makes your business stand out?

My business stands out because it is based on love and kindness. I want my customers to truly feel special when they open a box from me. I also try to re-use in all aspects of my company. Any paper that comes in gets shredded and sent back out as packing material and I melt found/sourced metals and work them in designs and then cast in recycled metals. I also believe in supporting other artists and try to share love for others as much as possible.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

I would say they need to set a proper schedule, don't spend all day on the computer ~ shut it down and focus on the task at hand, remember to eat and exercise and that there is an outside world, create a list of ideas/plans and keep it with you to help with the long list of tasks and ideas that flow through your day. Pay it forward.

What does American Made mean to you?

American made to me means quality craftsmanship. It also means creating jobs for people in my home town where jobs are hard to come by during these crazy times.

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