Pittsburgh jeweler SASHA Handmade uses textiles to create bold, beautiful pieces | Fashion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh jeweler SASHA Handmade uses textiles to create bold, beautiful pieces

click to enlarge SASHA Handmade bracelets stacked - PHOTO: COURTESY OF SARA MCCLELLAND
Photo: Courtesy of Sara McClelland
SASHA Handmade bracelets stacked
For many, jewelry is the most important part of an outfit. The sparkle of diamonds, silver, or gold, the pop of color on a beaded necklace or bracelet, all of it adds something to an ensemble that clothes can’t quite duplicate. Pittsburgh is filled with jewelers designers working to repair the city’s bad fashion reputation, one being Sara McClelland of SASHA Handmade.

McClelland creates unique, memorable pieces using colorful, chunky, and bold textiles, often tied into intricate knots or woven into basic, thick band bracelets, or earrings. Common materials used are cotton, wool, and hemp, which come in colors like burgundy, hot pink, and teal.

Like many fashion designers in the age of COVID-19, McClelland also sells affordable face masks in a variety of sizes and vibrant patterns, as well as accompanying mask chains.


McClelland started experimenting with jewelry-making back in 2009, but only sold to family and friends. It wasn’t until years later that she moved toward making jewelry for those outside her circle and getting into textiles.

“As a sewer, I've always been fascinated with textiles and their composition, so I was immediately drawn to figuring out ways to use a soft material in jewelry design, rather than clothing construction," says McClelland. "The result over time has become a unique option that is lightweight, full of color, and joy-evoking."
click to enlarge SASHA Handmade earrings - PHOTO: COURTESY OF SARA MCCLELLAND
Photo: Courtesy of Sara McClelland
SASHA Handmade earrings
Each piece from SASHA is handmade and mostly sourced locally. McClelland says sourcing has been a difficulty in the making process. While she remains committed to using locally sourced yarn, shops in Pittsburgh have come and gone, so she occasionally has to search beyond the city for materials.

“I love the catharsis that comes with using yarns and fabric in this non-traditional way," she says. "That, and I can take my work with me wherever I go.”

If you’re looking for an eye-catching piece of jewelry, the SASHA online store has what you’re looking for, and pieces are also sold in local boutiques and stores. Currently, you can find SASHA at Pavement in Lawrenceville, Tal & Bert in Dormont, The Sol Collective in Aspinwall, and Wildcard in Lawrenceville. McClelland says that, though her work is carried in shops across the country, her goal is to be able to find a SASHA piece in every neighborhood in Pittsburgh.


If you check a store or the site and can’t find anything that catches your eye immediately, don’t worry — new colors and textiles are available each season.

“Each spring, a core color palette launches that can be custom ordered the whole year," says McClelland. "I also try to offer limited edition color options throughout the year to keep things fresh and exciting.”
click to enlarge The Rachel Necklace - PHOTO: COURTESY OF SARA MCCLELLAND
Photo: Courtesy of Sara McClelland
The Rachel Necklace

McClelland designs everything herself but says her "all-time favorite" piece, the Rachel Necklace, was done as a collaboration.

"My friend Rachel and I collaborated on this piece in 2019 as a symbolism of her cancer journey," says McClelland. "Normally my work is very symmetrical, however, Rachel found her body asymmetrical after a mastectomy and she challenged me to think outside my norm. I'm so glad she did because this knot and color blocking has become such a special part of the overall collection and a true celebration of my friend and her road to remission. It will be available forever.”

You can purchase SASHA Handmade at sashahandmade.com, or at any of the stores listed above.

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