Inside Franklin's industrial-plant-turned-artists'-haven known as The Factory, jewelry maker Connie Williams Shaw churns out her popular Native American-style fashions without a single machine. All assembled by hand, the jewelry, purses, and other wearables often feature hand-stitched leatherwork and Connie's signature flair for designs. "I try to take patterns that are old and pull them into a contemporary setting," says the Cherokee-Scottish artist, whose diverse clientele include Native Americans seeking authentic regalia and women looking for a striking way to accessorize an evening gown or space suit.
Customers can browse premade pieces at the studio, but Connie's favorite pastime is creating custom pieces for unique and dynamic people. For her, the most exhilarating part of her work "is when someone comes in, totally confident in themselves, and wants a statement piece, something that shows they're unafraid to be different." The Artisan Company's custom pieces have been worn by maverick performers, such as renowned drummer Charlie Adams, and featured on the TV program Tennessee Crossroads.