Story by Jacynth Serrano Rodriguez
Photos by Monica Escamilla
Video by Spencer Sease
The genius behind Liberatus Jewelry, with her blonde choppy bob and an affinity for metal, is a modern day Tinker Bell. Pausing for a beat with her at Lift Coffee Shop & Cafe in Richmond’s art district was brief, refreshing and inspiring.
At a mere 23 years old, Ms. Ginny Rush took a leap of faith in starting her own line of jewelry. As a Christian artist, Ginny reverences her true inspiration, God, to inspire her creative process. During our chat, Ginny explained the meaning behind Liberatus. “It’s Latin, it means like a freed, redeemed kind of thing, and there’s a little bit of a faith aspect to that,” she said. From there it was clear there was something inherently more powerful to be said about the stunningly gentle pieces in her collection.
While she’s always had a passion for and been fascinated with the idea of directly manipulating materials, much of Ginny’s growth as an artist should be credited to an abundance of art courses she took both in high school and at VCU. She initially came to VCU’s Art Foundation Program (AFO) as a sculpture major, but later found her niche in crafting jewelry.
With hard work and a bit of elbow grease, Ginny creates finished products that showcase the craftsmanship created by her labor love. However, make no mistake she gladly welcomes the almost rusted appeal of her work. When asked about the rugged nuances of her pieces Ginny said, “When I make something, I want someone to wear it and love it, and like live in it–have experiences in it so that it’s like a physical visual representation of time passing.”
Ginny had no problem gushing over her greatest artistic influences: Ashley Buchanan, Tara Locklear, and Anna Johnson. Along with their unmatched skill, Ginny respects the artists for using their art to tackle environmental and women’s issues. Like these artists, Ginny is adamant about the message behind her work. For instance, in her recent Ellipse series, the implementation of the three intertwined ovals is meant to reflect the Holy Trinity.
Most of the Liberatus line includes pieces skillfully made from brass, silver, and occasionally copper. Ginny got acquainted with using these particular metals while in the art program at VCU and has stuck with them for affordability. She values more than anything that her pieces are set at a fair price for customers.
“An aspect of my jewelry is that I want it to be affordable so that it can be consumed by as many people as possible. So using these metals definitely keeps things in the price range that I would want them to be in.”
Although Ginny has not yet opened a storefront, she says she has had plenty of luck when she is out at trunk shows, boutiques and even RVA Fashion Week showcasing her work with a smile.
When asked about a day in the life of an up-and-coming RVA jeweler, Ginny rattles off her hectic schedule without a second thought. She currently manages a local boutique, volunteers at an art gallery that doubles as a Christian Missions Organization, and yet still fits in studio time around it all. With all that Ginny is involved in, she exudes the character of a modern renaissance woman.
“Wearable, modern, chic.” These are the three words Ginny came up with when asked to describe her brand. If you asked me the three words I would use, they’d be somewhere along the lines of real, simple, timeless, striking. Okay, that’s four. You got me. When you come in contact with any piece of Liberatus Jewelry, you will realize the work that goes into something that looks so effortless. The universal quality of her pieces are yet another aspect that Ginny prides herself on; the versatility can be seen in the Brass Loop Necklace worn by the models pictured above.
With Liberatus still being in its infancy, Ginny says the toughest part so far has been her insane hours that coincide with her prior commitments, in addition to the tool and equipment limitations she’s dealt with after graduating from VCU. Nevertheless, Ginny feels blessed to be where she is and to have the support of her friends and family, who attend all of her shows and insist on helping her set up.
When asked about any hindsight advice for current students and young people looking to morph their passion into profit, Ginny insists that “You get all your ducks in a row before you launch,” meaning all of the sticky parts of the business that artists may not always consider. “Business licenses, taxes, and all that stuff I didn’t really think about that I had to catch up with,” she says chuckling. “I thought I was gonna be in the studio all the time, but its meetings, coffees with people, going ‘Do you need my jewelry? Do you need my jewelry?’ to shops and stuff,” she says pointing her finger at imaginary shop owners.
The tall, slender, hardworking girl who is willing to laugh at herself has everything she needs to make it in this life: sheer talent and a drive to share it with the world. For her, anything is possible. Faith, Rust, (Hard Work) and a little Pixie Dust will take Ginny Rush and Liberatus as far as she sets her mind.