Awards & Distinctions
Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan Mark
2019 Best in Show Orchard Park Festival of the Arts
2018 First in Crafts Quaker Arts Festival
2018 First in Crafts Canandaigua Music & Art Festival
2017 Best of Show Canandaigua Music & Art Fest
2016 First in Crafts Quaker Arts Festival
2015 Second in Jewelry Lewiston Art Festival
2014 Third in Jewelry Lewiston Art Festival
2012 First in Crafts Quaker Arts Festival
2011 Allentown Art Festival Purchase Award
2010 Allentown Art Festival Honorable Mention
My background in arts and crafts began as a young child and was nurtured when I was very young. As my parents recognized that I had artistic talent, they began sending me for private art lessons. When I was young, my passion was for watercolor painting, but I was blessed to be nurtured in different types of arts in high school and college. While attaining a business and marketing college degree, I worked in my family‘s construction company, and I drew blueprints and designed kitchen interiors. My hobbies included porcelain painting and glass fusing in a kiln for making jewelry. Later I learned copper foil stained glass techniques.
While my children were young, I began to sell my items at the local craft shows so that I could stay home and raise my children . I turned my miniature paintings into jewelry, and these items were well received by the public, thus starting my current business as a jeweler in 1995. I experimented with different techniques and taught myself the technique of wire wrap setting in jewelry.
I really enjoy working in this type of jewelry setting. The challenge of this wire wrap technique of setting is in working with thin pieces of square sterling silver and gold-filled wire of various gauges. Each wire is banked, twisted, bent and crimped with various shaped pliers. However, my favorite tool for maneuvering the metal is my right thumbnail, and most work is simply done by maneuvering the metal with my fingers. I consider this technique almost like weaving with the thin pieces of metal.
Typically, I design as I go, bending and banking the metal and incorporating beads and pearls into the design. I work with many stones right in front of me, and on the most challenging multi-stone pieces, I draw the layout and placement of stones and then, set to this.
I love working on non-symmetrical and unusually cut stones that are not round or oval in shape. I also continue to make some of the stones myself in a four-firing kiln process using glass, porcelain and gold leaf. In addition, I hand paint floral designs with overglaze on small porcelain stones, kiln fire them multiple times, and then hand set them. I know a piece is complete when I look at it in a mirror to see if it is balanced both in viewing it straight on and in reverse.
Another challenge of a wire-wrapped setting for jewelry is blending both stability and wear ability of the piece especially when it has multiple stones. In addition, my goal is to create a piece of jewelry that is truly unique. I achieve this in shopping for the unusual stones and gemstones and than setting each piece individually, working directly on the stone. No mold is made; there is only one.
I hand pick affordable stones to give my clients not just a piece of wearable artwork, but a reasonably priced one as well. Also, I listen to my customers‘ requests for color and stones and continually add to my line. When a customer asks me what I have that is new, I can then show him or her many items.
Custom orders are gladly done, from weddings to setting collected treasures of customers. As I create a setting, I work towards their desires in shape so as to create a memory for them. This technique of setting can incorporate fragile items such as shells or glass because there is no heat used in the process.
Some of the most interesting items that people bring me are things such as their grandmothers' chipped tea cups which I cut, grind and set so they can wear a little part of it as an heirloom. The most unusual items that I have set include Indian arrowheads, coal and fish bones. All have sentimental value especially to the one wearing them.
I want my customers to be noticed and complimented when they wear my jewelry so that they really feel good about themselves. And, I want them to know that the piece is truly unique. I love when people tell me they came to a show just to see me. When people see my work, I would like them to say “Wow! I have never seen anything like this.” and then be able to afford it.
Some of my jewelry is listed on my website, as well as my show schedule, at . But, I have found that people like to touch the pieces and try them on. So, most of my jewelry is sold in the Western New York and Pennsylvania Art Shows. Even though the system of putting up and taking down my booth is relatively efficient, the show vendor life has its challenges. One on the most memorable shows was when a waterspout touched down near the booths at a Finger Lakes show. I was so happy to have my husband with me. He held down the tent as the wind blew many booths away. I have also had my tent roof collapse down on me in a rain storm. At another show I opened it in the morning to discover that people had slept in my booth at night for shelter. So, each show has its memories, but most of all, I love talking with people. In the course of this type of business, you make a lot of nice friends.
I believe that my business is more than just making and selling jewelry, it’s about building relationships . When my work and sales are going well, I am filled with a sense of being blessed by God and humbled that people would buy the work of my hands. I want to give credit to God for any talent that I have, for the income from my business and the achievement along the way.
As I continue in producing jewelry as an artist, there have been influencing people and organizations that have impacted how I do my craft. I have been mentored as an artist within the Roycroft Community. The helpful exchange of advice and constructive critique of my work over the years from other RALA Master Artisans has driven me to create new designs.
In addition, over the years, I have learned that each piece is to be viewed as a piece of artwork and not just a piece jewelry to sell. I believe that being subject to the jury process as an artist keeps the body of artists continually striving for a higher level of achievement not only in the craft, but in the way we represent the craft. Within the group of RALA Artisans, especially among the jewelers, there is a sense of comradery. I find that even though some of these Artisans are my competition, they are my support group as well, and we treat each other with respect for each other’s talent.
As an artist, some of the most significant achievements have been receiving the Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan title and winning the Allentown Purchase Award. It has been very nice to win awards in various shows over the years, and it confirms that the effort in making my jewelry is recognized. Having the Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan is one that I have worked towards for a number of years. The strict jury process, again, drives me as an artist to be meticulous and precise. And, when a particular piece itself wins an award, it’s exciting and fun to be competitive in that sense as well.
In looking towards the future, my plans are to continue to develop beautiful new jewelry designs, perfect the craft as best I can and build new friendships along the way.