Nikki Sedacca, owner of 530 Burns Gallery, always wears black.
Her clothing choice is a stark contrast to the work that hangs in the gallery: from the brightly colored, glossy blown-glass wall hangings by Sam Stark, who trained under Dale Chihuly; to the unique, bold red-orange, 3-D wire-mesh pieces by Joan Konkel. It’s because the jewelry designer prefers to let her jewelry make the statement.
Sedacca’s little black dress compliments to her slim figure, all too reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” She’s wearing her own designs: a gold-wire and cultured-pearl earrings and cuff, what she refers to as the “Nikki Cuff” — her signature style.
Her elegant wire-worked jewelry will be on display in an upcoming “Wearable Art” show Friday, May 10, at her gallery, alongside the work of fellow fine-art jewelry and accessory designers Marta Eagle, Chris Bales and Dana Giardina.
She’s only wears her own designs on occasion; she prefers wearing the estate jewelry or jewelry by other artists she collects, such as those featured in the show. But the jewelry-lover is always well accessorized.
“I probably shouldn’t talk about my jewelry-storage situation,” she says with a laugh.
“Especially if your husband is going to read this!” her daughter, Montana Taplinger, chimes in. Both of them giggle. 530 Burns Gallery is a family affair, and it’s apparent they have fun working together.
“We have a great time,” Sedacca says.
Twenty-eight-year-old blonde beauty Taplinger does the marketing and communications for 530 Burns. And she’s the family member who wears her mother’s designs most frequently; her mom even designed her wedding ring. Sedacca considers her daughter the communicator, while she says she does better with the visual side of the business.
In December, they lost the third generation at their business — Marie Woolley, Sedacca’s mother, who worked with Sedacca for more than 20 years. Woolley put pieces together, did bead stringing and helped the clients — many of whom became her friends.
“We haven’t cleaned her desk out yet,” Sedacca says sadly.
Sedacca grew up attending fashion shows with her fashion model and designer mother and fell into the jewelry design naturally. She worked in the fashion industry until she designed her first paradox necklace that she sold to a girlfriend 20 years ago; Sedacca eventually made a career selling one piece of jewelry at a time.
“I made one, sold it and was able to make two pieces,” she says of her early career.
Now she has wholesale accounts in Great Britain, Puerto Rico, France, Spain, California and Bali. She went from designing when she could afford it; to having a studio on Palm Ave; to exhibiting her designs in traveling shows; exhibiting on cruises; to opening 530 Burns in 2010, which underwent a large addition the following year. The gallery went from being a small gallery featuring fine-art jewelry to, with the expansion, including many different mediums and more contemporary artists. In April, the gallery had its first photography exhibit with an internationally recognized photographer, Tom Suhler.
The family-friendly Burns Court neighborhood is perfect for the family business. But, instead of borrowing a cup of sugar from their neighbors at Owen’s Fish Camp, Sedacca prefers succotash, mussels and Key lime pie.
“There’s a lot of energy happening in Burns Court,” Sedacca says.
Everyone has their own little niche, and Sedacca says the businesses in Burns Court are extremely supportive of each other.
But, her favorite memories are the days she spent working with her mother and daughter.
“It’s a wonderful thing when you’re in business together — and I think we have a love and respect for each other that is unwavering,” Sedacca says.
Five things that inspire Nikki Sedacca:
Nature — Nature is my biggest inspiration. I am so inspired by the sea. Being born in Key West and spending my entire life close to the water, I constantly notice that I am drawn to more organic and natural shapes and colors the way they occur in nature.
Color — I love unusual color combinations. There is something about the unexpected pairing and pop of color that really catches my attention. I am always in search of new combinations and often take photos and screenshots along my travels when I see something I like. When I come home to create, these photos inspire me.
Beautiful materials — Things like exotic pearls and beautiful stones inspire me. Before I start a piece, I always lay out my materials and am so quickly inspired to get working because of the individual beauty in the materials, themselves.
My travels — The textures, design, craftsmanship and cultural influences of art, jewelry and fashions are so different around the world. My travels to the Far East, South America, India and Europe have influenced my work and I find that upon coming home from one of these trips I take my designs in a new direction with the influences of those things I have seen from afar.
People — People and their energy inspire me. Because of this, I always try to surround myself with positive and unique individuals. I am drawn to people who are passionate, hardworking, confident and individual. My closest family, friends and colleagues are these types of people, and they inspire me on a daily basis.
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