Artist Statement

 

My creativity is driven by a delight in the body-adorned, as well as a narrative quality implicit in each piece. Over the past four decades, I have worked to develop a jewelry style that is focused on the capacity of my jewels to speak with a voice that reflects my inspiration and also speaks clearly to those who will eventually wear my jewels. My jewels are intrinsically wearable art, small sculptural adornment in precious metal, enamels, and gemstones, made to be experienced, flaunted, displayed on a person.

 

My attraction to jewels began early, with an aunt’s enormous pink leather jewelry box, filled with many trays of costume jewelry. I was dazzled by these jewels. I knew only that I had been given a chance to enter a tale of opulence, a story about the transformative power of adornment. This was my first experience with the way that jewelry could transform.

 

In 1976, A friend, a superb goldsmith, was about to teach a class in jewelry making. In that one-semester, one-night-a-week class, I learned to saw and solder metal, and was so engaged in the empowerment of this process that I never heard the sound and have never looked back. When I began to make my jewels, it took me quite awhile to recognize what I was actually doing. Isolated in my studio, I had to convince myself upon awakening each morning, “You are an artist. Go to your studio and make your stuff!” I researched jewelry making techniques endlessly, asked other jewelers how they did what they did, and took classes and workshops that covered the techniques I wanted to learn. And I just kept on making my work.

 

I am a colorist in many ways in my life . . . gemstones in my work, my wardrobe, knitting/crocheting (filling our home with afghans and my closet with sweaters), our home, gardening. After many years of using gemstones, I began to incorporate the use of vitreous enamels in my pieces, finding a new way to bring color to my work. My jewels became more of a collaboration between me, the techniques, and the materials, and the enamels, together generating a new body of work.

 

I had become a full-time studio jeweler in 1978, making my living by making my jewels, primarily by exhibiting at juried craft shows and selling my work through galleries. Once I had established that I was actually living the life of an artist and surviving at it, I realized that what I knew about making jewelry should be shared with others. So, I plunged into teaching jewelry making, at one point becoming Head of the Jewelry/Metals Studio at an art school. I taught workshops from 1996 to 2016 in the States and several in New Zealand and continue to teach privately in my studio. I discovered that teaching gave me the opportunity to learn from my students, not about making jewelry, but about why they wanted to make jewelry, what compelled them. And, it turned out, their reasons were similar to mine. . . to make adornment that would transform them, both in the process of making it and in the process of wearing it. 

 

All my jewels explore the fusion of their elements with the stories they relate, each object speaking as a collection of connected, coherent imagery. Aldous Huxley noted the transformative nature of stained glass windows, fireworks and gemstones. However central its wearability may be, it is the possibility of that transformation that I hope to bring to my jewels, as they become the outward expression of who we hope to become.