I grew up enchanted by the delicate jewelry housed in my mother's jewelry box. She would take each piece out and let me hold it and inspect it while she told me the story of how they came to her. I can still remember the way her hands looked as she gently tucked each piece in it's place. I knew from a very young age the items in that box were special, treasures that connected her to people and to time.
I studied art throughout my childhood and I made my first piece of jewelry when I was in high school. I was hooked. The concepts came easily to me and I showed an aptitude for metal work. For years after, I wished for a career that could be as fulfilling as my jewelry-making hobby. I began to enroll in more serious jewelry making workshops and classes. Then, in 2003 after moving back to my hometown of Kalamazoo, I fulfilled that wish and became a jeweler full time.
The most peaceful part of my day is in my studio. I enjoy the process of fabricating jewelry from start to finish. I love sketching out ideas and hand picking stones from gem dealers and lapidary experts. I love knowing what the silver will do and then pushing it a bit farther. I love the way silver smells faintly metallic. There is a calming effect to the rhythmic shaping of metal with a hammer. Each strike I issue is deliberate and transformative. I have been shaping wire for so long now, I can now create lines with it as you might scribe with a pen. I understand the metal and I can use that understanding to form pieces with the appearance of fragility and the reality of strength. I judge my own work by three measures: Design simplicity. Delicate appearance. Comfortable fit. From the page, to the bench, to the wearer.
My ideas often come from a random thought or a glance of imagery. They may come from a feeling I had in a certain place. I draw inspiration from the controlled chaos of the natural word. The point is, they come from my life. Often, I work in series, which allows me interpret an idea in many ways. I never force an idea but rather help it break through the material and take shape. What this means is that each piece is unique and part of me. Every part of my work is touched by my hand and mind. This is important to me because jewelry is so personal. You wear it. It is close to you. It is often a gift, either to yourself or to a loved one. It is my honor to share that connection through my work. I like knowing that each piece of my jewelry that means something to you exists because it first meant something to me.