R/M Studio was started in 1985 by husband and wife team Bill Ruth and Susan Mahlstedt. For more than 22 years their collaborative work received many awards for creativity and skill, and was shown in galleries and fine art and craft shows throughout the country. After Bill passed away from cancer in 2006, Susan has continued to honor their partnership while expressing her own voice. Susan received a B.F.A. from the University of Kansas and a M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both degrees are in jewelry and metalsmithing.
There is a joy in hand fabricating with metals. Solving technical challenges in order to create the look and vision I want keeps me constantly intrigued. My current inspirations come from the forms and textures of leaves, sand dollars, shells, bamboo and pebbles. Some of the techniques used to create texture are carving with burrs and stamping with different shapes of steel stamps. The materials I use are sterling silver, 18k and 14k gold with precious and semi-precious stones as accents. The finishes include depletion gilding (a heating process that makes the silver a white color), oxidizing, satin and polished highlights. I spend a lot of time with a design so that it flows or has the shape I’m looking for. While using a variety of textures, patterns and finishes, I hope to create unique jewelry that the wearer finds graceful yet strong, artistic, and comfortable to wear.