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Wild Indigo Wares owner blends love of nature with metal

You may know Samantha McCreery from her previous small business, Sam’s Plants, through which she provided the community with plants — particularly native plants and resources for growing them.

In 2021, she learned metal smithing from a friend, and now has a new small business called Wild Indigo Wares. These two dissimilar business ventures share a common thread: a love for nature and plants.

This passion shows in her metal work designs. Many depict native wildflowers and wildlife.

“Most of my designs are my own, things I see in the garden,” Samantha told me. She works mostly with sterling and a variety of stones.

Samantha said she has a sketchbook full of designs and selects one to use when she finds a suitable stone, of just the right color, shape and texture.

As an example of her process and matching designs to just the right stone, she told me the back story of one piece.

“I have a hawk that nests behind my house every year,” she said. One spring day, while working in her garden, she watched the hawk soaring against the beautiful blue sky.

A pair of earrings came to be from this special moment. Samantha cut out a pair of small silver hawk silhouettes and juxtaposed them with sky blue onyx stones. When I first saw these earrings, I thought they were pretty. But, hearing the reason for the pairing, I immediately visualized the familiar scene of a hawk flying through a clear blue sky.

Once she finds inspiration aligning design and stone, her process involves drawing the design (twice for earrings), using the drawing as a pattern for sawing the silver, making a setting for the stone, soldering everything together, adding ear wires, polishing, adding a patina, other finishing techniques and setting the stone.

The whole thing can take one to six hours, she said, depending on the intricacy. Samantha showed me an example of an owl that took a long time to make. She made the owl out of multiple layers, which gave it a lot of dimension.

Some of Samantha’s pieces depict other creatures — butterflies and bees, and even lacy butterfly and cicada wings. Others show flowers, including snowdrops and trilliums.

Samantha said she finds a lot of inspiration seasonally — and is already thinking about some funky veggie designs to try out when the harvest season starts.

Most of her pieces are one-of-a-kind. Samantha said she has only reused the lacy wing patterns “because I was having fun making them.”

In addition to continuously making new original patterns, she is beginning to add more beaded elements to complement her metalwork.

Conscious of both manufacturing and mining ethical and environmental issues, Samantha said she tries hard to source all materials from trustworthy distributors.

The next aspect of metal working she wants to try is casting. For this, she would create a mold, and pour hot silver in to fill it. This would allow her to use scraps and pieces that didn’t work out. She said she’s eager to try it, but needs a few more supplies first.

Samantha said she learned metal smithing from a friend, and then continued learning through online tutorials. She said learning from another artist is important when working with metal, so she recommends finding a class or friend to show you if you want to learn.

To see Samantha’s works, you can find her on Instagram at WildIndigoWares, on her website or catch her at the Moonlight Market on Nov. 25.

ALDONA BIRD is a journalist, previously writing for The Dominion Post. She uses experience gained working on organic farms in Europe to help her explore possibilities of local productivity and sustainable living in Preston County. Email