Art and craft of all types has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. My father’s mother and grandmother were artists (watercolors and china painting, respectively). My mother’s father and grandfather were watchmakers and owned a jewelry store. I learned from all of them, either in person or from what they had left behind. I have actually learned a lot of different techniques over the years, through many methods, and although I’m not regularly practicing all of them all the time, I do enjoy what having learned them can bring to any one thing I’m focusing on. The list of subjects is long, and included painting, drawing, design, sculpture, color theory, photography, paper making, stained glass, bookbinding, quilling, sewing, calligraphy, and woodworking. Of course there’s jewelry making, too, my main passion.
Although I first learned some techniques when I was much younger (my grandmother taught me to knot pearls before I was 10), I started my official jewelry education in 1998 at Spruill Center for the Arts, a community arts center outside Atlanta, GA. I started with basic goldsmithing classes, and then also took classes in chain making, filigree, repoussé and granulation. About one year after I started there, my husband and I moved to Germany. We lived about an hour away from one of the world’s best schools for jewelry making, the Goldschmiedeschule (“goldsmithing school”) in Pforzheim, and I was able to be a guest student there for two years. I took classes in basic goldsmithing, as well as in enameling, settings and lapidary. Since returning to the US, I’ve taken a few classes to learn techniques such as metal clay and glass fusing. Although many things are best learned in a classroom environment, I really enjoy learning through books, and have learned many techniques that way as well.
I joined the Lancaster chapter of the PGC in 2004, shortly after moving to the area, and attained chapter juried status later that year. I am happy to say I also attained juried status at a state level in early 2008.
Regarding my style, my interests are varied, so therefore too is my style, no matter what I am working on. I feel one creates best when they are creating something that they like, something that they themselves find beautiful and interesting, so my ideas and designs change from day to day, and I end up with a wide range of work. Some things have more of a modern feel, while others are very classic, but I always try to be different. I particularly enjoy working in filigree. I like small, detailed work, which filigree definitely is. I also like the fact that it’s not often made by artists in the US. Jewelry making is very popular and therefore extremely competitive; one has to work hard at being different in order to stand out.
I also take pride in making as much of a piece as possible. Over the years, many of the techniques I’ve learned and the materials with which I’ve learned to work, beyond basic metalsmithing , have been so that I can add interest and color to my pieces while still doing the work myself. I make all of my own chains and clasps, do all of the filigree work, and also make most of the settings and other findings. Even some of the beads and cabochons are handmade.
My studio is setup in half of my basement. It’s a decent sized space, with lots of tables, tools and equipment. My favorite place at which to work is my great-grandfather’s watchmaker’s bench, saved from the old jewelry store before the current owners re-did the entire space.
Over the years since I moved to this area, I’ve done several shows and exhibits, doing on average about 7 in a year. I also have a lot of my work in some area shops, a list of which can be seen on my website’s “Finding DBLG” page, along with a list of my current shows.