By Lori Knight
Creating art since the age of five, Margarita Sunderland — or Rita as she is known to many — learned early in life from her mother’s advice in Russia to work with her hands and learn a trade. Starting with a love of macramé, Sunderland’s artisan jewelry creations have now made their way into the celebrities’ gift bags for the 85th annual Academy Awards Feb. 24.
Sunderland’s vision is to see Angelina Jolie grace the red carpet with one of her designs, particularly the black and green onyx necklace. It is Jolie that she had in her mind’s eye when creating this signature piece.
The pictures below show the Black and Green Onyx necklace that became a part of the Tango to Three collection for the Oscar celebrity gift bags.
Sunderland moved to Mountlake Terrace with the love of her life, Jason Sunderland, whom she met through an online dating service in Russia that ultimately became a global whirlwind romance. Jason, originally from South Dakota, is also an artist with a background in commercial design. Both he and Rita gained juried acceptance into the 34th annual “Arts of the Terrace” Mountlake Terrace art show sponsored by the Mountlake Terrace Friends of the Arts and the Mountlake Terrace Arts Advisory Commission in 2012.
If you attended the art show this past fall at the Mountlake Terrace Library, Rita submitted one of her jewelry designs and Jason was featured in the Paintings, Prints and Drawing category. Rita also was a mathematics instructor while in Russia, having graduated from the Moscow University.
During our interview, I asked Sunderland how she was discovered by the Artisan Group that now features her designs nationally at celebrity events such as the MTV Awards, Country Music Awards and now the 85th annual Academy Awards during pre-gala events Feb. 22 and 23. While she submitted first to The Artisan Group, which is associated with GBK Productions, it took little time for the event marketing group to recognize that Sunderland is a very savvy marketer of her designs with an excellent online presence to showcase her artisan jewelry.
Another important prerequisite is the ability to be able to produce the amount of product required for the celebrity gift bags. Sunderland had to create approximately 100 handcrafted jewelry pieces fo display and the celebrity gift bags to the pre-gala Oscar event, which took a lead time of five to six months.
Sunderland is also an advocate of sourcing local for her gems and likes to find rare cuts to the stones. Her favorites are lemon quartz, yellow topaz, whiskey topaz and gold fill along with her signature macramé for the chains. Celebrities who have discovered Sunderland’s creations include Carly Steel, Tori Spelling and Paula Abdul. After the pre-gala events, the Artisan Group will notify Sunderland as to which Oscar celebrities received her artisan designs, including a photo.
Sunderland will be keeping her eyes on the red carpet, and what is around the neck of Angelina Jolie!
You can find more information on Rita Sunderland, or learn more about purchasing one of her artisan jewelry designs here.
Arts Around Terrace columnist Lori Knight co-owns — with her husband Eric — the Knight Visions Studio Gallery.A Brier resident, Knight has been selling, promoting, marketing and framing art for 25 years. She opened her studio at 19533 Filbert Dr., in nearby Bothell. in 1987. Both of her children — Briana and Chris — are Mountlake Terrace High School graduates. (Photo by Patty Linna)