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Stefanie Freydont

Stefanie Freydont is the energetic creative force behind Extasia jewelry. She is a designer first and foremost, and child of the Sixties who decided long ago that her life would always involve beauty. Life as art has been her credo, its creation and dissemination, and a natural, back-to-land lifestyle. With Extasia, Freydont has created the perfect fusion of her passions: jewelry design and rural economic development, and a life blessed with laughter, friends and family in the rural Sierra Foothills of Northern California.

In the '70's when her peers were hanging around California's beaches and cities, Freydont moved to rural California with her son and jewelers bench where she fabricated gold and silver pieces and called her line "Anie". After 10 years at the bench she took a respite and with friends, founded a cultural center in North Columbia's 100 year old, one-room schoolhouse. The North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center exists today as the heart and soul of the community producing a wide variety of art, literary and performance events including the Sierra Storytelling Festival "the Queen of Festivals" year-round: sierrastorytellingfestival.org. The desire to provide her community with a rich artistic culture led her to become the Director of the Nevada County Arts Council where she coordinated artistic activities throughout Nevada County. By the mid 80's, Freydont wanted to learn more about non-profit administration and the interface of culture and economics in community development. In 1986, leaving her mountain home, she entered UC Davis in the graduate program for Community Development, with emphasis on rural economic development. She was well on her way to becoming an economic development specialist and finished off her graduate internships at California Department of Housing and Community Development and the Colorado based, Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit organization that encourages sustainability in business, civil society and government.

Freydont later moved to San Francisco and if it weren't for a fortuitous moment with Fimo plastic clay, we may never have associated her with jewelry ever again. In her youth she trained with master smiths in gold and silver and became an accomplished designer winning awards for her student work while still in high school. But in 1990 Freydont became fascinated with the colors and properties of the new plastic, low fire clays. No longer constrained by high costs and boundaries inherent in precious metals she created her first line of costume jewelry. Now that she had the unlimited use of color in design, Freydont found herself reverting to type, turning her back on left brained statistics, cost benefit analysis and the dismal assumptions of capitalist economics.

She once again after nearly a decade long estrangement delighted in the grip of torches, jewelers saw, sandpaper, drills, hammers and the heel of her boot if needed to create beauty and form and wearable art.

A lifelong longing for the landscape of the southwest led Freydont to a yearlong residence in New Mexico and cemented the artistic move back to her roots as a fine metal smith. Abandoning Fimo for good and reinterpreting the traditional turquoise designs of Native Americans, Freydont launched her first metal collection in 10 years and called it Extasia.

In the early 90's, providence truly guided her to the signature look of Extasia. On a trip to Providence, Rhode Island, Freydont found boxes of old, glass intaglios, and remembers this as that lighting bolt moment when she knew what she had to do. And thus the first intaglio collection, “Daughters of Dust” was born and Extasia set foot on the path to becoming the worlds largest design house using hand pressed glass German intaglios. Not suprising many of the original classical designs are still current in the Extasia line.

Returning to her beloved Northern California community and after 15 years in business, Freydont has successful married her interest in rural economies with her passion for art and adornment. Currently Extasia employs 15 men and women at its remote studio on the western slope of the sacred Sierra Nevada.

These days, when not designing new collections, traveling to trade shows or running the company, Freydont can be found playing with her granddaughter Esmeralda, gardening on her 30 acre homestead, fundraising for local environmental groups, or out in the wilderness with a backpack, skis or kayak and her partner, builder Gary Parsons.


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