A little about meI taught myself to make jewelry. I bought some books, I studied, watched some videos, called on some old friends when I was stumped… and practiced. Where there’s a will… there’s a way! I have always thought that you can teach yourself anything if you really want to, and I learned very early on that our imagination is our only true limit.
For as long as I can remember I possessed an innate attention to detail. I’ve always had a knack and joy for figuring out how things work, and how to put things together. As a child I remember taking apart my ghetto-blaster (if you remember what that is… you are just as OLD as I am). Even at the age of 9 or 10 - I wanted to see the bits inside, how they came apart, and how they went back together. Those traits have stayed with me… being an absolute asset at times, and equally exasperating at others when it seems to take me 10 times as long as it should - while I measure not one or two times… but more like three or four times in order to make the perfect cut.
I actually made my first jewelry model out of my kid’s playdough… wrapped it and carved it into a ring around an old wine cork (which, oddly enough… is my finger size). I even baked it in the oven to harden it. It was actually a pretty good design - so I got some carving wax - and made a proper model. This was my first jewelry design ever! I had it cast by a local jeweller in 14K White Gold, and set with a Sapphire and diamonds. It turned out awesome… it is the piece pictured in the banners above/below. I was so in love with it, and became instantly hooked!
I was cautious at first, and started off only working with silver pieces for friends and family until I felt confident enough to move on to gold, and platinum. I even bought some synthetic stones - as it was suggested that most people practice with cheap stones before getting into the expensive stuff. I never even set one of them… I just couldn’t do it. It was sort of the equivalent in my mind of trying to make a nice jewelry box out of a milk carton!
I am very fortunate in my life… having lots of good ol’ buddies whom are highly skilled in every trade imaginable. I can call and pester them for their valuable expertise, and ask all my stupid questions (well… no question is ever stupid - but you know what I mean). I have searched far and wide for the necessary equipment… I couldn’t even begin to name the wonderful people who have allowed me to wheel and deal with them for tools, and learn some handy tricks of the trade. I had a huge leg up - so to speak - from my many years as a fine woodworker. Plenty of practice with every tool out there, fussy joints, design, finishing, and carving intricate details… jewelry is just on a whole lot smaller of a scale. It’s a very different experience… to melt, bend, fold, hammer, roll, and flatten your work… you sure can’t do that with wood!
Before getting in too over my head… I did arrange some one-on-one training. I know that it’s better to have NO habits, than BAD habits! I am a wife and mother of two young children - so a lengthy school program just wasn’t in the cards. I had a few days all to myself with an instructor at the the beautiful Juvelisto School of Metal Arts studio. It was awesome to say the least - and the best thing I could have done. I came away with the affirmation that I really was on the right track, and that I seemed to be a pretty quick study. They showed me everything I wanted to learn and see in person (you can only learn so much from a book). I came away with some new skills, and what I probably needed most… which was advice to simply carry on doing exactly what I was already doing, and have fun! And that’s just what I’ve done…
With new confidence came an ease, and a feeling of accomplishment that I’d been missing - especially as a busy (and easily distracted) mother. I’ve found a renewed passion for the designing and artistic process again … letting my mind be free, and more self assured. I have no doubt that I have landed on the exact spot I am supposed to be, doing precisely what I was meant to do.
I now integrate fabricating and forming methods together with casting… doing whatever is needed to get to the desired result. I’ve always felt a need to stretch the boundaries a bit, and do things in my own way.
Even though jewelry is sort of my second love - I could see it making a very strong case for first… or at least a close equal! My woodwork will always hold it’s own special place in my heart. I won’t be selling off my chisels and power tools anytime soon - but rather make room for both! The combination works well when you love tools as much as I do.
I love making jewelry. I’ve reveled in letting my style come out in different ways, and different materials. There’s nothing quite like the feeling I would get from running my hand over a perfectly carved and finished piece of wood… and I get the same sense of pleasure when a piece is polished and the stone is set.
I take great pride and care in everything I make. No two pieces are ever exactly alike - they are made one at a time… by hand… by me.