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Playful Local Jewelry

The red and blue themed buttons suspended inside a silver rectangular frame are sure to catch your eye, but then you see the square housing rows of green beads with three casually placed red ones off to the right side. These are the designs of Bmod Jewelry, the creation of a local artist named Brenda Modliszewski. When we sat down to talk over a drink that same playful energy evident in her pendants, radiated from her.

With a glowing smile and bashful shrug she began to tell me about the original necklace that inspired her. It was a friend's necklace that caught her eye, elegant jewel toned beads on a simple sterling frame. Being the crafty girl that she is, making one for herself seemed natural. The result wasn't quite the same, but pleasing nonetheless. Brenda wore it proudly and beamed under the onslaught of compliments. Of course she obliged the requests she began to get, after all this was fun. When she showed a small collection of pendants at a holiday craft fair, she received enough orders to start her thinking that she might be able to go somewhere with her jewelry.

Brenda has no formal training in jewelry making, just an eye for colors and the motivation to keep trying things till she gets what she wants. She began with rows of beads on square and rectangular frames emulating her inspiration. Her color schemes were generally monochromatic with contrasting beads thrown in as a small spot or a whole role. Brenda has always enjoyed "pushing" colors, testing pairings that "shouldn't" go together. She started playing around with buttons when she began to feel like she was seeing them everywhere - on cards, in magazines, on handbags. It took a few tries to get the frame just right, but she loved the way the buttons jumped outside of the squares and created such a playful new look.

The buttons tend to dictate the compositions for her, their colors and designs just coming together out of the collection that Brenda has gathered. Covered buttons are a favorite of hers because she can make her own with scraps of paper and fabric that catch her eye. For the beaded necklaces Brenda tends to find her inspiration in color combinations she sees in her surroundings, a particularly resonant sunset for instance.

Currently she is experimenting with both bracelets and earrings that will compliment, but not perfectly match the pendants. She's looking for the balance between delicate and playful that makes her necklaces so striking.

After a little less than a year taking orders from word of mouth contacts she steeled herself for some shoptalk. Now she's carried in three local boutiques alongside local designers such as Lotta Jansdotter, Offhand Designs and Maxsui. Her necklaces range from $40 - $70 and can be ordered through her website, www.bmodjewelry.com or found at three local boutiques: Lavish in Hayes Valley, Ruby Gallery in the Mission, and Bella Vita in Oakland.