Aikenite Returns to her Aiken's Makin Roots
When Nancy Ferrara Zierenberg was performing at Aiken’s Makin’ with the Crosby School of Dance in the late 1970s, she never dreamed that one day she would be an actual vendor at the annual festival.
“Aiken’s Makin’ was a highlight of my teenage days every September,” said Zierenberg, who, along with her mother Sally and sister Susie, attended Aiken’s Makin’ during her school years.
That was in the late 1970s and early 80s. Now, after several years of corporate moves with her husband and raising a family, Zierenberg will once again attend Aiken’s Makin’. Only this time she’ll be bringing a large variety of her original handmade jewelry to sell.
“I’m very excited to again be a part of Aiken’s Makin’,” said the 1981 graduate of Aiken High School and former elementary school teacher. “The festival has grown tremendously since its inception, and it continues to showcase a broad spectrum of incredibly talented artists. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
For Zierenberg, though, it’s more than coming back for Aiken’s Makin’. It’s about returning to her roots and to the many fond memories of her childhood here in Aiken.
“Growing up in Aiken was similar to living in a large family with special unique qualities and a huge sense of connection and closeness. It was safe, nurturing, and it provided an environment for people to build and develop a strong sense of community, as well as respect for individuality,” Zierenberg said.
Like many young Aikenites, she was involved in school and community activities – dance at Carl Crosby’s, swimming at the Fermata Club, and band (marching and symphonic) at Aiken High.
“Today, I have a great sense of pride to have been brought up in this community of Aiken and appreciate – now more than ever – the influence it has had in my life,” she said.
Zierenberg started N-fluence Jewelry and Designs about a year ago. After eight years of making jewelry for family and friends, she decided to launch her own business. She designs and creates custom pieces with numerous materials – salt and fresh water pearls, blown and molded glass beads, natural stones, and crystal to name a few. One of her suppliers is Aiken’s own MB’s Jewelry & Beads.
Her business took off quickly. In the past year, she has been in four juried shows, two festivals, and an expo. “I cannot thank my family enough for their support and encouragement. Without them, N-influence would not have gotten off the ground,” Zierenberg said.
Today, Zierenberg is busy preparing for Aiken’s Makin’. She said she looks forward to getting back to her roots and to the city that had such a positive influence on her life.