As a young girl growing up in Michigan, Emily Martin gained an appreciation for art from her grandmother.

She began making jewelry while still in high school and continued while attending art school. She said her mother still wears some of her first pieces.

However it wasn’t until a year ago that Martin, who moved with her family to Elizabeth City in 2017, decided to start her own jewelry design business. She said an opportunity came up to buy an existing jewelry business when a friend who owned it moved.

Martin renamed the business Bee’s Southern Creations. She said “Bee” is an acronym for the first letter of her husband, Benjamin’s name, the first letter of her own name, and the first letter of her daughter, Emmerlynn’s name.

Martin said her customers like her unique pieces, many of which are made from polymer clay.

“I love working with clay,” she said.

Martin, who makes her jewelry at her home, said she sometimes begins her designs with a sketch. After finding out what a customer wants, she kneads and rolls the polymer clay, then cuts the shapes of her designs. She then bakes her creations in an oven.

Martin said the clay is “very lightweight,” which makes her earrings, necklaces and lanyards easy to wear.

Martin also makes jewelry from other materials like leather and pleather. She can create custom designs based on customer requests through her Bee’s Southern Creations Facebook page.

Martin also receives input from customers through Facebook on what designs are trending. Tassels, cheetah print and golden flecks are some of the current trends people want.

“People love the big statement earrings,” Martin said.

The shape and size of Martin’s jewelry varies, and she incorporates her customers’ favorite colors and styles.

“I personally like white, black and translucent colors,” she said.

When she’s not making jewelry, Martin enjoys spending time with husband, Benjamin, and their two children.

Martin finds joy in the entire creative process of jewelry design and looks forward to sharing her work with the public.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

Martin’s jewelry and designs are available at Lazzy Frog and the Shoppes on McArthur Drive. Martin plans on showcasing her work at Lazzy Frog during the First Friday ArtWalk in March.

For more information about Martin’s work, visit the Bee’s Southern Creations Facebook page or her page on Instagram.