Familiar faces are behind the newest artisan shop in downtown Greenport.
Orenda is a fine jewelry shop featuring handcrafted items created by longtime Greenport designer Susan Pridham and native silversmith Alexa Suess.
The new store is opening in the former Blue Ruth Jewelry location on Front Street. Pridham operated the brick and mortar Blue Ruth Jewelry solo for eight years before deciding to partner with fellow local artisan Suess, owner of Common Ground Adornments, on a new concept.
“It had come time for me to reinvent myself as well as the store,” said Pridham, whose adornments are inspired by geometry and nature. “We have a good dynamic. Alexa’s energy is very stable. She is centered and straightforward in her design, where I am one to throw everything in the cake and then edit. She’s turned on a whole new creative area in my brain.”
Suess makes jewelry and other wearable pieces that infuse elements of nature with brass, silver and gold. She has been operating Common Ground for nearly five years — selling her goods in local shops and at retailers in Brooklyn.
“I was looking for a new venture and the timing worked out nicely,” she said. “We found a place of synergy where our interests intersected at the same time.”
The name Orenda — a Native American word that speaks to the power of self and humanity — embodies the artists’ vision for their pieces and the work they do.
“We both believe in the power of self, the ability to change your destiny and to have an impact creatively,” Pridham said. “I always loved that word and what it means. I knew it would speak to Alexa, too, because we both believe in human empowerment.”
To illustrate the sentiment, Suess — a graphic designer and owner of Points East Design — created a logo depicting the power of their hands.
“I took that word and the idea that human interaction makes up so much of our lives,” she said. “The hand seemed natural because how you influence and impact others is through the work you create.”
Orenda sells both Pridham’s Blue Ruth designs and Suess’ Common Ground jewelry in addition to leather goods, stones and crystals, candles and other trinkets crafted by local artists.
Orenda officially opens this Saturday, April 7. It will be open six days a week — closing Wednesdays — from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Orenda is located at 29 Front Street in Greenport.