Season Smith-Wesley began her journey towards becoming a professional maker the way so many have…she started out making jewelry as a hobby. After taking a class on a whim at a local craft store, she found making pretty necklaces to wear to be a great outlet in more than one way. It helped clear her mind and relieve stress after her young son was diagnosed with autism, but it also turned out to be a wonderful way to express her creativity, which didn’t get much attention at her office job.
Season followed the family tradition and went in to the criminal justice field upon completing college. Her father was a sheriff, and her sister was a corrections officer. Although she really enjoyed her job, she had always harbored an interest in fashion, and once she started making jewelry for fun, it quickly became an obsession.
Her family and friends were very impressed with her early efforts, and encouraged her to try and sell her work. Upon giving her handmade jewelry as gifts, she regularly heard that phrase that so many crafters get: the incredulous and impressed “you made this!?”
After several years of this kind of exchange, finally a friend helped create her website and convinced her to sell her work online, and AdAl Jewelry Designs was born. After a year in another location, Season opened her current brick-and-mortar storefront in Alexandria, Virginia in June of 2010. She knew Old Town was the perfect environment for her handmade jewelry. Not only is the neighborhood known for independent shops, but there wasn’t anything quite like her jewelry available there.
Season creates bold, colorful necklaces and bracelets that she acknowledges are not for everyone. Her best customers are ladies who “don’t like to play it safe,” she says. “They want to make a bold statement.”
Every necklace and bracelet from AdAl Jewelry Designs is handmade by Season, and always in limited editions. Many are one-of-a-kind. Preserving the connection between a customer and a unique piece of jewelry is very important to her, and AdAl Jewelry will never be mass produced.
She is inspired by the colors, textures, and details of traditional African clothing. Growing up in her Liberian-American family, she always loved and was attracted to traditional African fabrics, but never wanted to wear them. Now, her jewelry creations are a wonderful way to translate her cultural background into wearable art.
Season loves to do custom work, especially for brides and their attendants. After meeting and talking with a client, Season creates three one-of-a-kind options for the client to choose from. Usually one of those options is exactly what the client asked for, and the other two are slightly wilder alternatives. Season has found that her clients almost always pick one of the alternatives! She finds translating her client’s personal style into unique jewelry to be incredibly rewarding.
Season donates a portion of her proceeds annually to Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to understanding the science of autism, and advocacy on behalf of families affected by the condition. She also creates a special line of awareness jewelry every October to raise funds for the cause.
Season’s jewelry can be purchased at her Old Town storefront at 1003 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia and online at www.adaljdesigns.com.