Posted: September 14, 2015 Downtown artisan's jewelry is made for any occasion
From humble beginnings pursuing her passion and developing her craft in basements and garages, Elizabeth Griggs, owner of Casual Ore Formal, has finally reached the penthouse.
The third floor of 307 S. Farwell Street once was home to a dental lab for casting gold teeth. This news would not illicit as much excitement from anyone other than Griggs who uses some of the very same casting instruments in her work as a metalsmith and true artisan. Always a big believer in downtown Eau Claire redevelopment, Griggs believes “sometimes things are just meant to be.”
Profuse with open-air natural light, Griggs has turned the penthouse into a bright, fun gallery and jewelry workshop where she also teaches classes. She is excited to be a part of and contribute to the downtown vibe.
And, Griggs definitely brightens the scene; Casual Ore Formal is not the home of drab brown and cream pieces typically found in her craft. Rather, vibrant colors, alternative and mixed materials like rough, uncut diamonds, and fashion-bent vintage reconstructed pieces adorn her gallery walls.
From the time Griggs took her first metalworking class as a 19-year-old student at UW-Eau Claire, she knew she had found her calling. After graduation, she took intensive classes at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, one of the preeminent craft schools in the United States. More recently, she served as Artist in Residence at Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire.
According to Griggs, she draws her inspiration from the metals and other materials she works with as well as from the environment around her. Whenever she travels, she can be found writing notes and drawing sketches to be incorporated into her next work such as the diffuser pendant on her worktable today. She is excited to collaborate with her clients to create custom pieces that bring their ideas to life.
Casual Ore Formal has something for everyone with pieces ranging from $20 to $4000. Griggs focuses on creating permanent, durable work that conveys meaning such as her “Bus Routes of Eau Claire” series reflecting her passion and support for public transportation. She is also excited to delve into the wedding industry with custom wedding bands and tiaras unlike anything you will find at national chains.
Currently Griggs’ studio location is open by appointment with a grand opening anticipated in the spring.