Inspired Jewelry Making

Sandi O’Shaughnessy
Owner, Grasshopper & Cricket

Please tell us about your business. Grasshopper & Cricket is a spiritually inspired jewelry line created by myself and my daughter Eryn, who passed away a couple of years ago.

What kind of jewelry do you create? I create necklaces, earrings, bracelets, malas (a necklace with a certain number of beads in increments of nine) and headpieces. I use precious and semi-precious gem-stones, predominantly beads, set in sterling silver, gold-fill or vermeil, and sometimes solid 14-karat and 22-karat gold. I use feathers, rudraksha seeds, and I’ll sometimes incorporate shells or wood and various kinds of beads and findings.

How would you describe your style? It’s very Bohemian with high quality stones and materials. I try to use stones that have different kinds of energies. Also, some pieces are large, but they are delicate. I love things that you can see but the components are small.

What does your business name mean? A friend of mine started calling me “Grasshopper” from the David Carradine series Kung Fu — I was a teacher and taught acting, directing, fitness and all these different things. I started to do the jewelry and taught my daughter, and so I got the nickname. When Eryn started to get really good at it, I decided she needed a name too, so she became “Cricket.”

Why did you start your business? I was working in a professional career, where I had to dress up every day, and I was getting tired of trying to accessorize in costume jewelry that was fun but overpriced and everybody was wearing the same things. I would look at jewelry and think, “I can make that.” I went on a business trip to Honolulu to renew my real estate license, and during my lunch break I took a walk around the block and found this little bead shop. I wandered in, bought some wire, beads and tools, brought it home and taught myself.

How did you start your business? My daughter and I would wear things that we made and people would always comment on them. People started to buy them off of us. So we started to see if places actually would carry our jewelry. The first place to carry my jewelry was a boutique in Kapaa called Lilikoi Grove Boutique. From there, I was asked to have my jewelry at Kong Lung Trading in Kilauea. My daughter’s jewelry was in Halelea Gallery in Poipu, so she was growing in her own way, too. From there, we got into a. ell design and atelier. I still have Kong Lung Trading and a. ell, and I do a lot of commissions. We started for fun as a hobby in 2005 and officially launched it as a business in 2007.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your business? Balancing the budget is really challenging and it’s not my gift. It’s really expensive to buy all the materials, and you have to learn to budget the costs. Also, I have to teach myself the techniques because, on Kauai, you can’t just drop into a class and learn. I learn by trial and error, and sometimes have to waste material before I get it right.

What do you find most rewarding about your business? When I complete a piece of jewelry, it feels very inspired by my daughter; I really feel guided by her. So that’s rewarding when I can create something that unfolds in that kind of organic way. Of late, the most gratifying thing I’m proud of is that my jewelry hangs on the huge 700-pound crystal at the Hindu Monastery Temple, and I recently made an emerald mala for the 7,800-pound statue there as well. That’s really special that the monks like my work enough to put it on their deities.

Do you have any special events coming up? I was selected to be a jeweler on the runway for Kauai Fashion Weekend. My pieces will be featured during the show at Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club April 4, which happens to be my daughter’s birthday.

grasshopperkauai@gmail.com 651-6349

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