|Raw Diamonds and Steel Grey Pearl Ring|
I am a single mom to three little children, ages 7, 6, and 4. I am also a full-time high school art teacher, and own a giant heritage house in East Vancouver. My studio is in my home. Here, I store my overflowing specimen collection, and work on my jewelry pieces.
|1. Mixed Quartz Crystal Ring 2. Mixed Quartz Crystals Ring|
When I was in art school, my most-loved technique was carving. I often carved natural materials such as wood and stone. When I get a new specimen, I look at it like I would look at any other naturally-formed material that I would create a sculpture from. I turn it and look at it from all angles, in different light sources. I try whenever possible to use the specimen as I find it, without altering its form and appearance. Then, I build what I feel is a complimentary piece in silver or gold around it. It's kind of an intuitive process, as I seldom begin with a sketch. Sometimes, I don't know exactly what the piece will look like until it is finished- it's neat when the process ends in a surprise.
I am really focused on minutiae as well as natural materials, so jewelry making and specimens went hand in hand as my new favourite art form.
|Cobalt Aura Quartz|
I sometimes cut the stones if the shape just won't fit what I want to do with it. I cut most of my own stones, but save the difficult cutting for a very talented lapidary I know- he intuitively knows what I am after, and always does an amazing job.
|1. Pyrite Brass Earrings 2. Mixed Crystal Ring|
I begin by building a fine silver bezel that the specimen will fit into. Then, if I am building a ring, I forge a ring band from a strip of sterling silver sheet. The band is soldered closed. Sometimes, I choose to create textures on the band. Other times, I work the bezel with my torch and pick until I achieve an unpredictably organic form. The pieces all get soldered together. Then, I sand, brush, and polish until the metal has the appearance I am after. From there, I tumble the pieces for a few hours- this hardens the metal and preserves the finish. The final, and most nerve-wracking step, is setting the specimens.
|Feather Bib Necklace|
I think I was just taken by the singed black coque feathers first, the ones with the long, spindly spines and the rounded tips. They reminded me of exotic insect legs. Then, the more I looked, the more interested I became in thinking of ways to combine the ethereal quality of the feathers with the more concrete properties of the metals.
|1. Pink Druzy 2. Mastodon Fossil Necklace|
My biggest source of inspiration and greatest support was my husband, Dave, who passed away unexpectedly in late March. He had just turned 38. We were in our thirteenth year together, and with him gone, things are very different. He was always the first person to see my new pieces, and he often passed on his ideas for pieces he thought I should create. He was so excited about and proud of my work. Every time I would show him my latest work, he would say without fail, "Oh, wow- this is your best piece ever".
I miss him terribly.
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