How did you get started in jewelry?
I’ve enjoyed working with my hands for as long as I can remember. I thrive on learning new creative skills and have focused on a range of crafts from spinning and knitting to drawing and calligraphy. My metalsmithing journey began after spending a number of years studying calligraphy and taking classes from talented and inspiring calligraphers. While experimenting with etching calligraphy into copper, I found that I loved working with metal. Etching my calligraphy and nature drawings into tiny, wearable silver pieces was a natural progression.
Throughout my life, family and friends had encouraged me to sell my creative work, but for years I was too scared to do that. I was afraid of rejection, but I was also terrified that selling what I had created would make it less fun. I couldn’t have been more wrong about that!
What five words best describe your work?
Delicate, detailed, tactile, elegant & understated.
Tell us a bit about your technique.
My etched work typically begins with drawing or hand lettering on paper. I then transfer my tiny images and calligraphy to sheets of sterling silver and chemically etch the designs into the metal. I also create imprinted pieces with the help of my rolling mill using found bits of nature—feathers, leaves, petals. I love how detailed and delicate these impressions can be.
I hand fabricate all of my pieces from start to finish, hand cutting the pieces out of the silver sheet, using my torch to solder pieces and components, and hand finishing using files, sandpaper and buffs. I often hand paint the final patina to best highlight delicate details. I give each piece a soft, brushed finish.
What is a typical day like in your studio?
A typical day begins with an early morning romp with my dogs at the dog park. Having a new puppy in the family makes this morning ritual a necessity to ensure uninterrupted work time in the studio. It’s also lovely to start the day enjoying some fresh air and socializing with fellow dog owners before heading into the studio to begin my solitary workday.
Once in the studio, I’ll typically begin by responding to emails, shipping orders and taking care of other administrative tasks. I’m then free to focus on creating, which, depending on the day, may mean creating inventory, finishing made-to-order items, experimenting with new designs and ideas, learning a new technique, or photographing finished work. A rare day without deadlines may also include an afternoon break to walk in the woods with the dogs, from which I derive a wealth of inspiration.
What is your favorite thing about being a jewelry artist?
I feel fortunate that I’m able to spend a portion of every day designing and creating. I’ll often wake up thinking of a new design or technique that I want to try, and I love that my work day can include creative experimentation. It means so much to me that customers throughout the world are appreciative of my work, thereby enabling me to make a living in a profession that I love.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I most enjoy working with sterling silver and 24k rose gold. All of my work begins with a sheet of precious metal—a blank slate for my imaginings.