In an effort to save some money on earrings for her outfits, Jeanine Murphy began creating her own out of polymer clay. She developed a fast passion for the process, and now her one-of-a-kind earrings can be found through her Instagram-based company, Curated Clay by Jeanine, and in select downtown Sioux Falls boutiques. Curated Clay by Jeanine now has over 800 followers on its page, and Murphy’s designs are sold sometimes as fast as they’re posted.
605 asked the jewelry artist about her craft and the new venture that came with it.
PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… being around town for so many years. I talk a lot, so I’m sure I’ve interrupted your conversation at one point or another!
I STARTED CURATED CLAY BY JEANINE… in September 2019. It came about organically as a way to save money on earrings by creating my own for almost every outfit I wore. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop. After a while, I was creating for friends and family, which is just my favorite. I started Curated Clay by Jeanine on Instagram (@curatedclaybyjeanine), and it snowballed from there.
MY INVENTORY INCLUDES… medium to large earrings that are many different styles, shapes, and colors. The brighter, the better. When I create a pair, I’m always thinking of them as a statement. It’s the only piece of jewelry you’ll need for your outfit. They are extremely lightweight, even with their large size. I use hypoallergenic posts to cater to sensitive ears, too. Many of my pieces are one of a kind, and I usually don’t make more than one of the same pair unless requested.
Spring Into Inspiration
Seasons are important to Murphy. Spring brings a fresh start and loads of bright colors that inspire new ideas for Murphy’s designs.
BUYERS OF MY PIECES ARE OFTEN LOOKING FOR… something unique, bold, and comfortable to wear.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE PARTS OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS… is the mixing of clay colors and finding new styles. It literally is endless. I try to stand out with the designs and shapes of my earrings the most. I use clay cut outs for shapes, but many of the shapes I’ve created on my computer, printed them, then cut them out of clay.
I’VE FOUND THE MOST SUCCESS THROUGH… social media and word of mouth about my earrings.
MY MOST PROUD MOMENT WITH CURATED CLAY BY JEANINE WAS… being able to have my pieces in local shops downtown. It’s pretty crazy to think that things I love to create are being offered amongst other great inventory at local storefronts.
A LOCAL SHOP YOU CAN FIND MY PIECES IN IS… Terra Shepherd Boutique & Apothecary downtown. [Owner] Sara Jamison handpicked a small batch. I also have a custom collection I created for TH Grey downtown. Check out their new ownership.
MY DAY JOB IS… I’m an elementary teacher in the Harrisburg School District. I teach grades K-5 for English language. I can’t remember wanting to be anything other than a teacher. I taught first grade a number of years, then switched it up and wanted a challenge. I love supporting multilingual students and helping them to succeed, and I learn so much from them every day. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR INSPIRATION IS… the hallways of my school, actually. The art projects the elementary kiddos at my school do are always so bright and colorful. I love it.
SOMETHING PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CURATED CLAY BY JEANINE IS… many of my earrings are one of a kind. I also do custom pairs based on your color or style suggestions. I am working on creating more jewelry than just earrings as well, such as barrettes and pendants.
SOMETHING I’M DOING WITH MY BUSINESS RIGHT NOW THAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT IS… incorporating my new logo into packaging, as well as being able to accept purchases on different platforms other than Instagram.
as a consumer, i’m always looking for special pieces that not everyone will have and, that will stand out, so i find myself creating for and catering to that mindset.
WHEN I WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN, MY FAVORITE PLACES TO STOP BY ARE… Zandbroz Variety and Terra Shepherd. Zandbroz caramels by the checkout? So good. And Terra Shepherd’s shop always smells amazing. You leave there feeling refreshed. Both have such wonderful inventory for gifts and for myself.
I LOVE TO GRAB A BITE OR DRINK AT… Carpenter Bar or M.B. Haskett Delicatessen. I always end up running into someone I know at Carpenter Bar; stop-and-chats are my favorite. The atmosphere is great, they introduced me to my favorite tequila, and the music is always on point. I enjoy M.B. Haskett’s poached eggs and toast, their mimosas. And I love their back patio.
SOME THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA ARE… he seasons. I don’t think I could live without the feeling of rebirth every spring, and although brutal at times, there’s something special about the first winter snowfall..
SOME LOCALS WHO I ADMIRE ARE… all of my lovely friends and family who have been so supportive as I started this little clay journey. I don’t know what I’d do without their support.