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Zelime Gillespie Matthews

© 2009 Zelime Gillespie Matthews Contact Me
About The Artist
Should you meet Zelime Gillespie Matthews, the multi-talented San Antonio, Texas painter, designer and muralist, the first thing you will notice about her is her Style-- the way she carries herself, her smile, the way her eyes tell you she is glad to see you. The second thing you will notice is the whimsical, luminous pin perched on her outfit. The pin that tells you that Zelime Matthews has been at it again!
Zelime's designs have swept the country. Women, from the most serious minded to the most spontaneous, have clamored to own and wear a Zelime original. Once you own one you will want more - and there are over 250 different designs to choose from.
About ten years ago, while browsing a crafts store, Matthews bought a few sheets of plastic, "Just to see what I could do with it." Using a simple cut-and-melt technique, she made a few brooches for herself and gave some as Christmas presents. Later she was asked to donate a series to an auction to benefit the San Antonio Zoo; the whimsical animal-shaped pins sold out. Retailers started calling, and Matthews began developing patterns.
“Inventing a design is the fun part,” she says. Reproducing the beautiful and whimsical designs takes a great deal of time, patience and love. Each brooch averages 20 pieces per design, many only slightly larger than the head of a pin. Each tiny jot and curl of plastic that becomes fish scales, bluebonnet petals, and other microcomponents are entirely cut by hand. "There just doesn't seem to be a faster way to do it," she says.
Working from the templates she has created, she starts with the largest or most basic piece: an angel's robe, a turtle's shell. Then comes the delicate work of placing smaller pieces above and below this "chassis"; the medium and the process will support up to four layers. The mood of a design can be changed, she points out, by crossing a turkey's legs rakishly or swiveling a flamingo's head to suggest surprise.
Once Matthews is satisfied with a composition, it goes into the oven on a china plate. "The trick is to remember that it's in there," she says. Like cookies, overcooked pieces change color, starting at the edges. However, when the pins are heated just right, the layers melt evenly and the colors stay true.
Then the pins must cool and be put it into a refrigerator. Hers was truly a home-cooked enterprise, creating her pins overtook her entire kitchen and dining-room. She had invested in studio appliances because her husband, John, "Thinks kitchens are for cooking and dining rooms are for eating," she says, shaking her head. Finally, when the pieces are cooled and hardened they are ready for her signature in gold script on the back, where metal fasteners are also affixed.
So much care and creativity goes into every pin and you’ll look stunning wearing them! If you have any questions regarding any of the pins please feel free to email Zelime directly at:

Thank you for your interest.