We had the good fortune of connecting with Bri McGrew and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bri, what do you attribute your success to?
I’ve always pushed myself to make pieces that I’ve never seen before, which means my work is constantly evolving. That’s been necessary to stand out in a market as saturated as jewelry, but it’s also crucial to sustaining my creative drive. I’m happiest when I’m able to surprise myself.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a jewelry designer and metalsmith based in Colorado Springs. I’ve been making recycled silver and gold jewelry for nearly a decade as The Universe Conspires. My style in metal is minimalist with a sculptural structure that allows the stones that I cut to be fully seen and appreciated. In the last year I’ve been using a method called intarsia, which is like quilting but with raw stones patched together, then cut and polished. Combining various mineral slabs in palettes and compositions that feel fresh has been so creatively fulfilling for me. As the pandemic hit, I had to make the move my business from mostly in-person events to exclusively online sales. In order to adapt, I’ve been offering a selection of stones on my site, available as made-to-order pieces, allowing clients to build their customized dream piece in some of my most popular styles. I’ve been loving making work in this way and I’ve ended up with a business model that is more sustainable, which is super important to me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For breakfast, I love Adam’s Mountain Cafe in Manitou. For lunch, I love Monse’s Pupusaria or Uchenna in Old Colorado City. Monse’s had the yummiest Salvadorian food with vegan and vegetarian options. Uchenna is unbelievably good Ethiopian served by the sweetest family. For dinner, I’d do Shuga’s which has been a staple in this city for 20 years. Tasty cafe and bar in a cottage south of downtown. There’s so much good coffee in the Springs, My favorite spot to get a quick cup is Story Coffee, which is a tiny house coffeeshop downtown. In a world unaffected by Covid-19, I’d say that while you’re there, you should pop into Ladyfinger’s Letterpress right across the street. They’ve chosen to protect their family and the communities’ safety and have moved to online/curbside pick-up only. Morgan and Arley are the letterpress printer and designer of the in house stationary and paper goods line. They’ve also curated an inclusive selection of beautifully-designed goods. There are so many good hikes around the Springs, Garden of the Gods feels like a must-see for out-of-towners and I always recommend nearby Red Rocks Open Space for a more immersive and hikable experience of the area’s geological wonders.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Morgan and Arley of Ladyfinger’s Letterpress have been such an anchor for the creative and queer community in the Springs. They’ve created a gathering place for community, they provide free protest posters for the Black Lives Matter movement and they frequently raise money for local non-profits including Inside Out and TESSA. Personally, I’ve been so lucky to have had their mentorship as a creative small business owner. They’ve offered endless advice, helped with design and printing, provided a platform to sell work, hosted events and just gone above and beyond as friends.
Photo of me by Ren Creativ Photo