Much of my childhood was based in Colorado. For me, the mountains were always symbols of strength, stability and direction. Each trip into those mountains felt like a cleansing of mind, body and spirit. Being in their midst, I always felt as if those gorgeous, silent mountains somehow lent me their quiet strength.
However, my travels and life abroad over the last 16 years have taken me far from my Colorado home and I have had to learn other tangible ways of finding that inner peace and keeping my center. Jewelry design and silver smithing was work I could take with me all over the world. It was at a chance silver smithing class where I discovered the work that I find so fulfilling and engaging on all levels. So, while we are abroad, I work on perfecting my craft, explore new opportunities and whenever we return, I take more classes, as many as I can afford and manage.
From the Andes Mountains of Ecuador to the incredibly artistic and beautiful city of Vilnius, Lithuania, inspiration often finds me, whether in nature or the art and architecture of a culture and her people.
And at the workbench: handcrafting designs (primarily with silver and gold but occasionally base metals), sorting through an array of stones and utilizing my experience to work through design challenges engages my mind, body and spirit in a natural flow of purposeful work and creative energy.
If it is to be done right, there can only be a calm focus on the design itself. Handcrafting jewelry has taught me much about slowing down, being present and what can be achieved when we quiet our minds and focus our energies.
When it comes to the forging, I love the feel of tools in my hands and watching the raw materials take shape and transform into a beautiful piece of wearable art. As each design is finished, I feel as if a circle has closed and the cycle can begin again.
Though I don't generally limit the stones I work with, I have a definite preference for the stones that have that lovely play of light and color: labradorite, moonstones, opals and fire agates are favorites. They feel symbolic to me in a way that speaks to the inner light in all of us: ever present and under the right conditions, ready to be awakened.
The designs can be extremely organic or take on a very architectural feel. Color and texture also play a large role in my designs as I play and freely experiment with new ideas and techniques. The only limitations are that the jewelry be inspired, beautiful and wearable.