Thora Barker Creates Whimsical Works of Wearable Art
Tucked away on a quiet residential street in Paradise Valley is a quaint home unique for its magnificent greenery, vine-covered wrought-iron fence and vintage cars parked in the driveway. Step inside and be transported to the interior of a traditional New England-style home, complete with a grand library, a cozy breakfast nook and exquisite antiques scattered throughout. It is here you will find Connecticut native and passionate jewelry maker Thora Barker pouring over a bevy of satin strings as she creates her magnificent, one-of-a-kind Barestrings necklaces.
The strings come in multiple hues of almost every color on the spectrum—from vivid violets, blues and reds to subtler ivories, greens and grays—and all necklaces are custom-tailored to each individual client’s combination preference.
“My love of color goes back to my first box of Crayola crayons, which eventually led me to an Art History Major at Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York; and it just grew from there,” says Thora.
She also has an affinity for knowing her precious metals. Her grandfather, who immigrated to the United States from Sheffield, England, worked for the International Silver Company in Meriden Connecticut for 50 years and passed along his love for silver to his granddaughter.
“The Barestrings are really an inspiration from all of these things—my love of color and merging that with beautiful sterling silver pieces,” says Thora.
However, on a practical note, the concept for the necklaces themselves actually came from something Thora had read in Nora Ephron’s novel I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.
“Ephron talked about her friends in Manhattan, who wore turtlenecks on hot, humid days in the summer to hide their necks. That’s when I thought to myself ‘there has got to be a better way to do this,’ and came up with the concept of Barestrings,” says Thora. “They’re perfect because they’re light, airy, hand-washable and travel well.”
Further distinguishing Thora’s jewelry is the fact that all the elements of her Barestrings are 100-percent made in the United States.
“The strings are made out of natural fibers and the sterling silver I use for the clasps is made here locally by an incredible man who casts and does all the silver work for me,” says Thora. “That’s really important to me.”
Thora customizes each necklace to her clients’ personal color preference, creating lasting statements that will perfectly complement any outfit.
“There’s a certain grace and style to the Barestrings with how soft and feminine they are; and the way they contour to your body and enhance the natural glow of your skin,” says Thora. “They have panache.”
Barestrings also pair well with your favorite pieces of jewelry.
“I even like to use my own jewelry and layer it with the Barestrings because they really enhance everything,” says Thora.
She’s extending her creations to younger generations as well, and plans to introduce a Barestrings children’s line soon.
“I have two granddaughters and they both love their necklaces because they are colorful, light and pretty,” says Thora. “I can really make them for anyone of any age.”
At the end of the day, what truly makes Thora’s passion so fulfilling is the people she has met and shared her necklaces with along the way.
“I love that I can custom-make the necklaces for clients from all over, using email for color combinations,” says Thora. “I’ve met so many creative and wonderful people from places like Switzerland, Australia and Hawaii, and it’s just been so rewarding.”
With the brand’s increasing global reach, new expansion and ever-evolving concept, the future certainly looks bright for Thora Barker and her Barestrings.
For more information, please visit BareStrings.com or email Thora at Thora@Barestrings.com.