At Flotsam & Co., every piece of jewelry is handcrafted in Hawaii by artist Karen Sawicki. As a lifelong diver, Karen dives for all of the shells for Flotsam & Co. jewelry. Many of them are rare or found in excess of 100+ feet. This is appropriate because “Flotsam” describes found items washed ashore, which Flotsam & Co. incorporates into its jewelry. These items give new form and life to objects which may otherwise be considered debris and detritus.
With a background in fine art and design from The Cooper Union in New York City, Karen uses all of her skills to bring a completely new line of jewelry, which marries her love of the ocean with her passion for art and design.
Karen spent years perfecting and experimenting with some of the jewelry techniques to showcase in her sunrise shells. The 24kt gold electroplating technique is a signature item to Flotsam & Co., as Karen was the first to develop this unparalleled way to set shells and stones in an organic setting.
I ventured out to Oahu on a very early Saturday morning anxious to meet many designers I found in my pre-trip research, of which Flotsam & Co. was not one of the designers on my list. As fate would have it, my friend Anela (who also goes by 'Angela'), grew up in Oahu and lives down the road from me in Los Angeles. She happened to also be in Oahu and we planned to have brunch on Sunday.
Immediately following brunch, she ventured out with me on my first couple of designer visits, at which point she suggested I go to the South Shore Market. She left me for a surf and I went to the South Shore Market per her recommendation, at which point, I found perfection in Flotsam & Co. A wonderful woman named Jax helped me around the store and told me the story of the brand and it was at that moment that I was actually was sold. It was all in the story. I then started to look at all the jewelry with an entirely different lens. I returned the next day to meet the founder and designer and that sealed the deal with confidence. Karen was such a beautiful spirit, incredibly talented and an inventive soul. She is the heart of Flotsam & Co. I am so very glad that I met her and that she is now a part of the Optimist Made family.