Meet Sandy Yahner of Frosty Morning Jewelry! Sandy is celebrating her 10th year selling her precious metal jewelry at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. If you stop by her booth you will be drawn in by the eye-catching fine silver (and bronze) jewelry and the attractive display of her lovely necklaces and earrings. Sandy’s creations are a locavore’s delight since many of her works feature indigenous plants, stones and reproductions of the Finger Lakes. Frosty Morning jewelry is either 99.9% fine silver, sterling silver or bronze.
Sandy explains that precious metal clay is composed of a binder and precious metal *(silver or bronze) which she mixes together and shapes into a slab. Next she proceeds to texture it, stamp it or put it in a mold. Sandy has made molds of animal shapes, antique buttons as well as many local leaves or seeds.
After forming the jewelry it is then fired in a kiln about the size of a large microwave oven at 1,650 to 1,520 degrees Fahrenheit. During the firing the binder burns off leaving the silver (or bronze) jewelry. Sandy explains that she is able to get amazing textures and images in her jewelry with the precious metal clay. She exclaims that it is “kind of magic”. All her earrings have sterling silver ear wires, an important consideration for those with sensitive ears due to metal allergies.
Sandy’s studio is located on her 212 acre farm in Virgil, in Cortland County, about 3 miles away from the Greek Peak Ski Resort. She makes her fine jewelry in an Amish style shed that has been transformed into a studio. Sandy lives with her husband Jim, 2 mules, a donkey, 2 sheep, 8 chickens, 1 guinea fowl, 2 cats, 2 dogs and a bunny. Her business is named after Frosty, a beloved mule that she had for years and the fact that she lives at a high elevation so in the late fall through early spring she experiences many frosty mornings. This is a perfect location to contemplate nature, which serves as a constant source of inspiration for her work. Some of her most popular pieces are the Cayuga Lake stone necklaces which combine a thin stone from Cayuga Lake with textured disks of Copper, Bronze or Silver.
Sandy’s interest in creating exquisite pieces of jewelry started in college where she majored in art and art education, specializing in jewelry making and traditional metal smithing. She went on to teach many types of art at the Marathon Central School District for over 30 years.
You can find Sandy Saturdays and Sundays at Steamboat Landing and at many of the mid-week satellite markets on Wednesdays and Thursdays and at the winter market at the Space at GreenStar. In addition to selling at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market, you can also find Frosty Morning Creations at Ithacamade, August Moon Spa and the Virgil Country Market.
Photo credits: The photos of Sandy making jewelry in her studio were taken by Polly Joan Photography.