“Joy is a spiritual practice. Carve out a few moments each day for something delightful, joyful, playful. Just for you, just because.” - Mary Davis, Author Every Day Spirit

Welcome to Susan Dorling Designs!

From handwoven precious metal chain embellished with Swarovski crystals and gemstones to responsibly harvested bark from fallen Ontario white birch trees given new life as cuffs, pendants and earrings, our multi-media jewelry collections are eclectic and colorful; made with a variety of mediums, from watercolor paper, birch bark, cork and satin to resin, epoxy clay, precious metals and gemstones. Discover vibrant hand-painted watercolor art and original digital art transformed into feather-light earrings, cuffs, and pendants; mixed metal chain maille jewelry, satin cuffs, and earrings and necklaces featuring gemstones like turquoise, lapis lazuli and crystal quartz. 

Materials & Techniques:

Susan Dorling Designs jewelry is made from ethically sourced, organic, sustainable, eco-friendly and cruelty-free materials. No leather, feathers, freshwater pearls, silk or any other animal by-products. 

I source materials in Canada and the United States that are produced ethically, and for my cork creations -- a lovely sustainable material that evokes the look and feel of leather -- we order directly from Portugal. My birch bark creations are made from naturally fallen white birch from Ontario that is responsibly harvested locally.

 

 


The below are materials and techniques used in our jewelry making:

 

 

  • Birch Bark 
  • Portugese Cork
  • Vegan Leather/Suede 
  • Gemstone Beads, Slabs, Cabachons, Pendants (Turquoise, Quartz, Amazonite, Lapis Lazuli +)
  • Swarovski Crystals
  • Swarovski Crystal Pearls
  • Czech Glass Beads
  • Sterling Silver .925, Fine Silver .999, 14k Gold Fill, Rose Gold, Copper, Bronze, Jewelry Brass, Stainless Steel, Anodized Aluminum (colored through the anodizing process)
  • Precious Metal-Plated Pewter
  • Epoxy Clay
  • Resin
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Preserved Leaves and Flowers
  • Chain Maille
  • Metal Stamping
  • Hand Painting

A Little History

I began making jewelry in 2007 after a two-year stint as editor of the jewelry collecting and fashion jewelry channels at a popular website, Bella Online, the second most popular women's website at the time. During my tenure, I fell in love with gemstones and jewelry design.

I interviewed (by telephone) several designers including Elvis Presley's personal jeweler, Lowell Hayes, Hollywood producer Elliot Abbot the founder of The Hollywood Collection, celebrity inspired jewelry, and the actor James Garner's daughter, Gigi Garner, a renaissance woman who included celebrity jewelry designer in her repetoire.

I was soon dreaming up jewelry designs and launched my own little jewelry biz Silver Spirit Designs, naming it for my silver Harley purchased in the same year. Of course, I would have needed to be a metalsmith to execute any of my design sketches, so my creations were pretty simple and mostly stringing beads. I sold my jewelry at craft shows and in a retail crafter's showcase for a few years, then had to take a break to focus on other business interests. 

Five years later, I was making jewelry again in my spare time, playing around with wire, industrial components, random found elements, organics gathered from my property and different kinds of clay, finding joy in the process of creating and working with my hands. I learned new techniques through Internet tutorials such as working with wire, chain maille, watercolor paper  and digital art, resin, and polymer or epoxy clay. By 2019, I registered my business as Susan Dorling Designs, discovering the name Silver Spirit Designs was taken. When I had enough jewelry pieces made, I launched my online store August 1, 2021 and an Etsy shop. 

What Inspires Me

I am inspired by the colors, textures, flora and fauna in the natural world, and art. As an animal advocate, I do not use animal skins or feathers or any other animal products such as silk or pearls in my jewelry. My studio is in my home in rural Ontario on a park-like property filled with trees, wildflowers and abundant wildlife that has inspired me for the past 24 years. Our property has been home to and regularly visited by an array of birds from hummingbirds to pileated woodpeckers and wild turkeys to great gray owls, along with raccoons, deer, wolves, coyotes, bears and even a couple of cougars one year. I have been blessed to have shared my life with many pets during these years, including 11 dogs, several cats, six Pekin ducks, Scrunchy Monkey the lovebird, a trio of budgies Rinky, Dinky and Doo, and a rescue pigeon named Snoopy Jack. Now, in December 2021, I have my cats and Jack and most recent family member Hunter, a German shepherd dog we adopted December 23 (he will be nine years old August 20, 2022) making this Christmas so very special!

As a wildlife rehabber since the 1980s, I have raised and returned to the wild eight raccoons, three squirrels, and over 100 birds I raised from hatchlings; including finches, robins, sparrows, grackles, and starlings. I invite you to visit my personal blog, Focus on Animals for animal news, delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes, poetry, art and more!

My mail order art business is The Phoenix Collection. The store was online from 2014 to 2018 and featured wildlife and equine art, First Nations art and home decor accents. I stilI sell art through an online catalog. 

I have worked as a freelance writer since 2000, with hundreds of articles published online, among them my most recent pet articles for Cuteness.com

Warm regards,

Susan

Me and one of my "horses!" I don't actually own any horses but my studio/sitting room walls are filled with their images and horse head sculptures grace my tables. Horses have always inspired me with their beauty, strength, nobility and magical aura. 

 

 One of my favorite little paths on my country property that I walk daily. Being in nature inspires creativity and makes me feel peaceful.