Making a statement does not always have to be done loudly; many important things are small, quiet, and often unnoticed. The vision behind TEMPER is the blending of our states of mind, the inherent degree of give in our raw materials, and our experience of integrating and accepting our emotions and personal sense of style.
We, Jesse and Anna, started TEMPER from worlds apart- literally. Jesse was based in Seattle, Washington and Anna as an expat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Anna is now back home in Tacoma, Washington and we continue to work closely with our workshop and fresh new team members in Cambodia to keep the motion of TEMPER in process.
Our ties go way back: we've trekked the mountains together, rode around The Charming City in tuk tuks, drank coconuts on gritty dirt roads, played and pandered with all the fun to be had in the States, and have had many a fun run around town.
When Jesse visited Anna in Cambodia in August 2013, we decided to finally take the plunge and do something exciting together by combining our very different skillsets. We created a jewelry line that blends simplicity, unity, beauty, and culture- that of America and Cambodia. As we went through the initial design process for our first line, we thought of the types of things we wanted to wear or see each and every day; not clanking bangles, gaudy earrings (although there's nothing wrong with some smash costume jewelry!), or heavily woven pieces. Instead we wanted classic, fun, interesting, yet luxurious everyday tokens to be worn with joggers and a white tee or a glorious draped gown.
Each TEMPER design is influenced by something that we see around us in our daily lives, whether a smile or bones at a museum from the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, a raindrop on the windshield, or a tear on the face of a loved one. They are meant to be simple reminders of the moments that move us, the people that change us, the stories that have yet to be told, and the things waiting to be discovered.
Each piece from TEMPER is carefully crafted by gifted, passionate artisans working for a fair trade organization in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They are treated with respect, as every person should be. They receive wages that reflect their incredible work in addition to education stipends and benefits, all in an environment that promotes creativity and growth on a large level.
Utilizing bullet cases and bombshells from eras of war, loss, and pain- these metals go through the fire and are melted down and recycled to create something of beauty from a thing of ugliness. Through this transformation, change takes place not only in the form of tangible jewelry, but through our hearts, aspirations, and visions, those working with the material, and eventually- TEMPER wearers.
When you glance at your TEMPER piece, remember that you are literally wearing a piece of history meeting a new day. The casings and bombshells are collected through a web of NGOs and organizations like CMAX, even detonating live ones for the safety of current lives. Fishermen and army training groups who come across the evidence of a once war torn country deliver the metals to the workshops to be upcycled by the gifted artisans. There are believed to be thousands of casings and shells left to be discovered, which leaves much work to be done and an abundance of reminders of a gruesome past to metamorphose.
As Cambodia rises from the ashes of a dark history, with over 70 percent of its population being under 30 years old, there are immense pools of talent and resources that are moving into the light. To be a part of this continued process, TEMPER will maintain their commitment to operate with dignity and fairness, using conflict free resources and materials, while producing pieces that wearers will appreciate, time and time again.
We hope when you glance at your TEMPER throughout the day, you think of these things and that they bring a smile to your face. They do for us.