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Simply Stylish
By Audrey Hanes, Photos by Melissa Donner

What started out as a creative outlet quickly turned into a small business when busy speech-language pathologist and mom of two Bobbi Hydrick’s clay earring designs became popular several months ago. Now, Simply Clay by Bobbi is garnering a reputation for quality wearable, artistic earrings of all shapes and sizes and for any season or occasion.

Hydrick says that her jewelry business came about because of the pandemic. Due to daycare closures and quarantines, she was not able to do speech therapy full time, which left her looking for a new hobby.

“I desperately needed a creative outlet to help fill some spare time,” said Hydrick. “I woke up one morning and told my husband that I wanted to make jewelry, so I went to the store and bought items to start. I quickly found out that not all materials are the same, but it was a great starting point to master the skill.”

The jewelry artist is entirely self-taught. After deciding on her new pastime, Hydrick learned how to craft earrings by watching YouTube videos and following other jewelry makers on social media.

“I have always enjoyed art and love to paint landscapes; however, painting is very difficult with two children at home,” she said. “Earring making is a lot less messy. … I quickly realized how much I loved making earrings and had interest from others in purchasing them; therefore, I started a business.”

Hydrick began in September 2020 by posting items on Facebook for her friends to see, and as the demand and popularity increased, she decided to start a website and a Facebook group. It has grown from there, and 400 orders later, she now ships earrings all over Arkansas and the surrounding states.

For the earring-making process itself, Hydrick uses polymer clay that hardens to a semi-flexible, lightweight solid by the end of the process when cured properly.

“I usually begin by mixing the colors I want,” said Hydrick. “Once I get my colors, I begin my slab for the earrings. The thing I love about slabs is that no two earrings are exactly the same. Once my slab is complete, I begin to cut out earrings. Then, it’s time to bake the pieces, drill holes, sand and assemble the pieces together.

“My favorite part of the process is slab-making and sanding. The pieces really come together once you sand them.”

From small neutral studs to abstract dangly earrings, Simply Clay by Bobbi has something for everyone. Hydrick plans to have one release a month until the fall, which is when she plans to start having more releases and more earrings available for customers.

“My husband works in agriculture, so I work my schedule around his off-season; it’s perfect for our family,” said Hydrick.

She says there are several new earring styles in the works, in addition to seasonal color combinations for the holidays.

“My personal style changes by the day and season,” said Hydrick. “I usually grab clothing items that work year-round. I do the same with earrings and jewelry. I love pieces that work as neutrals and can work with most of my clothes in my closet. What I create is usually in line with my personal style. I love gold accents, neutral colors and marble designs. I enjoy crafting bright colors, as well. They always fit well with my neutral wardrobe.”

The most popular design so far is the “Hattie,” named for Hydrick’s eldest daughter. It is a two-piece, rectangular shape with a drop stud on top.

“There is no rhyme or reason to my color combinations,” said Hydrick. “I normally sit down and just start working, and I usually end up with something I love. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned and I just recycle that clay into something new. I would love to say that I have a plan, but I really use it as a creative outlet. Having a plan sometimes restricts my creativeness and I don’t end up with as good of a result.

“I enjoy being able to artistically express myself. I also love being able to set an example for my girls. My oldest daughter loves to make earrings with me. She understands that mom loves to make earrings and is passionate about it and that I’m also able to provide for my family financially.”

The jewelry designer keeps many of her designs in stock on her website, and special releases and restocks are always announced on Facebook. For more information about Simply Clay by Bobbi, find Simply Clay by Bobbi VIP on Facebook or visit simply-clay-by-bobbi.myshopify.com.