Although currently a resident of Washington DC, Sandy Buffie and her husband Craig relocated to Cleveland in early 2013 for Craig’s job with KeyBank (now retired). There are some people who are so fun and kind that you instantly know they will be lifelong friends and that was the Buffies for me…..and not just because Sandy makes beautiful jewelry!
We recently learned that Sandy is using her artistic skills to create thank you necklaces for front line workers helping during Covid-19. It’s easy to nominate someone who deserves a pat on the back. You just send their story to Sandy, telling her why one of her necklaces should be shipped to them free of charge. There are no strings attached! I have two nurse sisters and I shared their info with Sandy and within days they had received a beautifully wrapped gift box with a Seeds of Gratitude necklace nestled in tissue paper. She even includes a handwritten note referencing who nominated them and thanking them for their hard work.
We wanted to share her inspiring story. Full disclosure, I own a few Sandy pieces myself and am particularly addicted to her one-of-a-kind cuffs which are made of things that were headed to the landfill and have been reimagined as art for your arm! My collection so far looks like this:
You’ve been an artist your whole life and have worked in so many mediums, what is it about jewelry design that you enjoy?
“My journey into the limitless world of artistic design began in my early twenties with a six-week course in drawing on the right side of the brain. Introduced to a new galaxy of curious people, creative inspiration, colors, designs and ideas … well, after, I was never the same. Since then, I have expressed myself through painting, sculpture and most recently metal work, always with a bias to use re-purposed materials whenever possible … worn roofing copper, discarded family heirlooms, broken-down tools and found objects that have a story to tell, a history to commemorate. Nature inspires me and fuels much of my artistic pursuit. If it can be found in nature, it has a place in my design aesthetic. The bursting flowers of spring, the reds and yellows of fall and yes, the changing textures of the seasons. Seeing, is believing, but touching and feeling deepens the experience. It taps the heart … it reaches the soul. For me, the design and creation of jewelry is cathartic. Minutes turn into hours and hours turn into days, with the realization that at any moment a breakthrough could occur. It is this discovery that fuels my passion. While this process takes time, I can think of no better way to express myself to the world and to give of myself to others. My aim, always, is to create something that is unique … that is fresh and new … that others will find personal, meaningful and inspiration.”
“As is sometimes the case with inspiration, Seeds of Gratitude originated from a painful experience. In January of this year, one of our adult sons, David, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He spent five difficult days and nights in the ICU before beginning his life-altering journey into a new world of medical miracles. I was so grateful that he was going to be able to live a relatively normal life, and also deeply appreciative of the doctors and nurses attending to his needs, his girlfriend Sarah who never left his side, day or night and the regular visits from friends stopping by with a kind word and gentle smile. It was then that the Seeds of Gratitude necklaces were born … my way of giving thanks to all of those who had helped David and helped me through this trying time. These Seeds of Gratitude necklaces are elegant in design and concept. Using traditional metal forming tools and supplies (oval disc cutters, files, dapping sets, texturizing hammers), chains of silver, copper or brass are combined with natural gemstones, each chosen for their symbolic meaning, often connected to a story of generosity or selflessness that has touched my heart and nourished my soul. The current healthcare crisis has afforded me the opportunity to accept nominations for first responders, teachers and doctors and nurses on the front line. And as of mid July, I’ve sent out 132 packages with an ultimate goal of 200. There are so many people that deserve a little surprise present! I think some people think it is a gimmick or that there is a catch and will be on some email list forever or something. It isn’t and I hoipe that your sharing my story on your blog will help validate that there are no strings attached!”
Sandy has created works of art for the neck more than 130 times during Covid-19, with a goal of shipping 200 in total. Want to help support her work? Buy some of her beautiful jewelry for yourself from her on-line shop and she uses the profits to pay for shipping & postage!
Q. What did you enjoy about living in Cleveland and how would you contrast that to where you are now in DC?
“I fell in love with Cleveland pretty fast, I had such a good day exploring the city with Executive Arrangements while my husband was interviewing for his job at the bank. He didn’t have an offer before we flew to Ohio and I remember sitting in the hotel room, enjoying the treats from the gift basket EA sent to our room and thinking of how I was going to tell Craig that even if KeyBank didn’t offer him the job he was going to have to find another one because I liked the city so much I was going to move there one way or another.
What I loved about Cleveland: people are super genuine and comfortable to be with; it’s a real foodie town with tons of great restaurants; it’s on a lake; when we moved back LeBron James had just returned to his hometown and so in a matter of a few years we were cheering for two teams in the playoffs, the Cavaliers and the Indians; it’s not terrifying to drive on the freeways in Cleveland like some cities we lived in (Los Angeles!); it has an easy airport and a great walkable downtown.
Now that we are in DC we appreciate all it has to offer; museums are amazing and all the Smithsonian institutions are free; there is great art and food everywhere; it’s so multi-cultural and so you are exposed to so many different viewpoints (our closest friends here are fro Columbia, Iran and Kuwait); its so fun to be surrounded by people who are in the room where it happens every day (we meet clerks for Supreme Court Justices, lobbyists, ambassadors) and it’s such an exciting time to live where policy is being made especially right now when so many issues are being addressed including racial equity, Covid-19, the presidentaial race. It’s an exciting city to be in.”