Sometime in the early 2000s, I found myself at El Camino Community College taking a tour of the art department. What I mean by this, is that I was taking art class after art class, trying to expand my repertoire of skills… drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography and finally… jewelry! Learning fabrication techniques, stone setting and casting from Irene Mori was a turning point in my life! I was looking for a medium that felt like the right fit and something I could devote myself to. Well, I fell in love with that pretty blue flame and life will never be the same again.
I continued my education at California State University Long Beach, receiving my BFA in Metals. What an astounding experience! Yet another life altering moment in my journey. During my time at CSULB, I learned many wonderful things! But the thing that I am the most grateful for was the opportunity to learn enameling from Elise Preiss! I was blessed with many semesters under her tutelage; some of which were special studies that were personally designed so that I could pursue an avenue of enameling that was particularly of interest to me… champleve! Many are familiar with cloisonne enameling techniques ~ well champleve is like the beautiful sister that we hear less about because she has been traveling Europe… or the enameling underground. (haha) Just kidding. I think it is just a bit more work or perhaps tedious ~ so it just doesn’t get the same attention as sister cloisonne. The process of cloisonne is about creating little cells with wires, on top of your metal, in which to lay vitreous enamel. Champleve is where you create recessed cells in your metal in which to lay the enamel. There are various ways to achieve this, I personally choose to use etching techniques to create my cells. I really like the aesthetic of champleve ~ the thicker ribbons of silver running through the design gives it a really beautiful rich look in my opinion.
My work often focuses on esoteric concepts of the mystical realm… divination, energetic healing, plant medicine and our connection to the spirit world. Mysterious wonder lies all around us ~ may we have the courage to explore the unknown.
Some of my work is based on tools used by the mystics that walked through the pages of time… ancient astrolabes, talismans and divinatory objects ~ such as the ouija planchette. My studio takes on the vibe of a magician’s lair at times. Magical mysterium ~ mess and all ~ as I am sure plenty of you can identify!!
Aside from all the esoteric adventures, I am very committed to furthering my knowledge of metal work and enameling. I have been extremely fortunate to become a part of the assistant staff during Metals Week up at Idyllwild Arts Academy during the summer months. Working with Deb Jemmott and all of the amazing instructors that she brings to Metals Week has been truly enriching! Assisting some of our coveted metalsmiths like
Pauline Warg, Victoria Lansford, Tom McCarthy and Anne Havel ~ has been a priceless experience!
For the past three summers, I have been teaching the youth jewelry class up at Idyllwild Arts Academy as well. What a magical experience! Let me tell you something about 14- 18 year old metalsmiths… THEY HAVE NO FEAR!! They just go for it!! As much as I have taught them ~ they have taught me in return. Just go for it!! Don’t stiffel yourself with fear of the unknown. If you see it ~ you can make it!!
Our metals network is a beautiful thing! So much willingness to share and learn. Young or not so young ~ our network provides a strong web of support. Metalsmiths unite!!