ISU alumnus creates a jewelry line from unusual materials

Andi Morales

Nearly three years ago Andrew Kingsbury, ISU alumnus and current graphic designer for the Center for Food Security and Public Health, launched his handmade, custom jewelry line, Decadence.

“I’ll make jewelry out of anything” is the motto on which he has founded his business.

Taking what might be considered to be old raw material, or “junk,” and mixing it with inspiration from thrift stores and flee market finds, Kingsbury creates a collection of leather and metal accessories that can add a soft spunk to any ensemble.

“There are other people doing things with leather, metal and found objects, but Andrew just has a really great eye,” said Ann Thye, academic adviser for apparel, events and hospitality management.

Thye said she first learned of Decadence and met Kingsbury at a local Des Moines Market Day, where she went up to the jewelry designer to express how impressed she was by the setup.

“It looked great the way he had displayed his jewelry … and it just had such great integrity with everything he designed,” she said.

Born and raised in Ames, Kingsbury grew up with a creative mind.

“Ever since I could hold a pen or pencil I was drawing something,” Kingsbury said.

Always knowing he wanted to go into the arts, Kingsbury started off in graphic design. He said he was looking for something more tangible, though, something he could hold onto and show to the world.

Jewelry was an outlet for Kingsbury and his designs began receiving notice from both his family and friends. The encouragement he received and his self-determination lead him to appear for his first time at the Market Day in Des Moines on Black Friday in 2010.

Since then, the designer has gone on to appear at events such as “What A Load of Craft” and the art segment on “Great Day Des Moines” on The CW.

Two of the unusual materials he has been best known for incorporating into his jewelry line include his ruler and old beer bottle opener leather bracelets.

“For me, seeing something in a raw environment, that is what sparks the creative process,” Kingsbury said.

He also said seeing the potential of what something could be is what stimulates the jewelry designer to create his one-of-a-kind work.

With the upcoming holiday season, the designer has been hard at work preparing custom orders and exclusive products for individual customers and businesses such as WHiTE—RABBiT in Iowa City.

Kingsbury is also preparing for upcoming shows that include Santa’s Workshop Extravaganza in Ankeny and Lucky Star Market in Ames.