I have always been an extremely visual creature, and have explored many different mediums to satisfy the urge to create, including drawing, painting, hand-cut silk screening, various forms of stitchery, crocheting, photography, but the one I love best and have devoted the most time to is designing and fabricating jewelry. First with high quality components such as gemstone beads, pearls, crystal, sterling silver & gold-filled wire, and precious metal findings, then in 2006, I had a ‘light bulb’ moment. While on down time working at a furniture store, I picked up a catalog of classes for the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. There it was- the next logical step in my jewelry journey. Beginning metalsmithing classes were to be taught!
I signed up as soon as possible, and after two classes, I was completely hooked. Controlling fire and bending metal to my will is very empowering. My husband presented me with my torch that Christmas, and a small studio was set up in our basement, which is where I still work. I took a total of three six-week courses, two hours per week. I continued working on my own, trial and some error, and kept having more and more ideas, I could barely look at interesting shapes & patterns without trying to work out how to incorporate them into my designs, and many of Mother Nature’s creations have inspired mine. I love visual treats like butterflies, flowers, leaves, seashells, and they often show up in my work, along with textures that I find interesting.
Participation in juried art shows and festivals has provided me with great feedback, and a bit of pocket money. I was excited to have a piece selected for the ‘Eight Counties’ exhibit at the Kohler Art Center in 2010, and to have been featured in Lakeshore Living magazine in 2011, followed by a reprint with several photos in the Sheboygan Press. I submitted my own photos for their use. My photography background has definitely come in handy for shooting my work.
The latest addition to my work is having found a paint that can be used on metal, heat set in an ordinary oven eliminating the worry of any negative effect on solder joints. I dabbled in torch fired enamel, but I was not satisfied with the results, I wanted finer details. This new technique is re-energizing my creativity, and I am getting the results I was longing for. I intend to continue this process, and want to become a better painter. Actually I have pleasantly surprised myself with what painting ability I have, and have branched out from jewelry a little bit.
I currently have work displayed at The Plymouth Arts Center in the gift shop, and Seranya Studio, both in Plymouth, Wisconsin, and will be showing with SVA whenever the opportunity presents itself.