Local jewelry designer Susan Allebone breathes new life into her art and herself with each piece she creates.

“I use the designing and making of jewelry as a ‘sanity saver,’ with the eventual plan to have my creations available commercially,” said Allebone.

Although Allebone dreams of crafting her unique pieces full time, she currently has a demanding job at the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Health. In the meantime, she channels her creativity into United Way campaigns at work, and continues to create art when she can.

She’s also maintained multiple volunteer positions, including roles as the past chair and president of the Art Mentorship Society of Alberta (AMSA), and as the past vice chair of The Rat Creek Press.

“There’s a need for more mentorship for people within the arts business,” said Allebone. She has business experience to share. When she lived in the Yukon, she along with her late husband George, started and ran their own bakery/deli/cafe.

Sue Allebone wears a bracelet she created early on to remember where she started. | Breann Gurney

She explained she believes a lack of business education in schools wastes untapped artistic potential because success in art requires business knowledge as much as talent. Last year, she was in contact with iHuman to participate in the business mentorship program, focused on youth development within the arts.

“I initially made contact last summer at the Whyte Ave Art Walk, which I’ve yet to follow up on, but plan to when my plate isn’t so full,” said Allebone.

She has seen how quickly lack of guidance can sour the career of a budding artist on the verge of success and is determined to prevent this type of failure as much as she can.

“Artists are very much underserved,” said Allebone.

One of Allebone’s pieces she creates from repurposed jewelry. | Breann Gurney

She began taking silversmithing courses in 1999 and has since expanded into other small metal works. When Allebone works on a piece of jewelry, she extracts materials she needs from other pieces she has found from previously loved jewelry to create stunning original pieces. She gives old jewelry new life and sees herself as adding another chapter to the item’s life. From one repurposed piece, she can scatter its life into other creations and make many more stories in a meaningful and environmentally friendly way.  

Her purpose in art is not to create a uniform for everyone to wear, but to allow her customers to express themselves and their personality visually.

Jewelry making is also her form of meditation. She stands by the idea that 45 minutes of creating art provides countless benefits to the creator, including stress relief and relaxation. Allebone has found herself completely entranced in her creative space well into the early morning, often forgetting about the problems of the day.

“The idea isn’t to be Picasso, it’s just for yourself,” said Allebone.

Allebone started taking silversmithing courses in 1999. | Breann Gurney

She also wears her own jewelry. In fact, everyday, Allebone wears a bracelet she created early on in her career to symbolize where she started and how far she’s come personally. The imperfections remind her of her progress and her belief in maintaining a high degree of quality for her future customers.

“I’m going to do it my way because it’s going to reflect on me,” said Allebone.

Allebone is currently working on expanding her collection of jewelry to prepare for its launch into the Edmonton market within the next year. As for commissions?

I’d be happy to take them on a limited basis, once my business is up and running,” said Allebone.

Featured Image: Sue Allebone (pictured) with some of her jewelry she creates. | Breann Gurney

Editorial note: This article contains corrections from page 12 of the print version of the April 2018 Rat Creek Press.

The print article stated Allebone uses creativity in her campaigns at work. The correction is United Way campaigns.

The print article states Allebone  “is in contact with iHuman to participate in the business mentorship program.” The correction is that she was in contact with iHuman last year to participate in the program. She has not yet followed up, but intends to do so once she has time.

Additionally, the print article stated she’s “maintained multiple volunteer positions, including chair and president of the Art Mentorship Program of Alberta (AMSA), and as the vice chair of The Rat Creek Press.”

The correction is that those roles are past volunteer positions and AMSA should be Art Mentorship Society of Alberta.