Do you have a method or source you look to use for inspiring your designs?
Since my main focus is teaching and writing about how to make jewelry, one of my guiding thoughts and inspirations is simply what will my students enjoy learning? I try and always push myself forward to try out new techniques and methods so I can inspire and instruct. A new tool or stone or bead can always bring new ideas for a class or an article. How often do you work on your jewelry designs?
I am so lucky that I get to design jewelry for a living, whether it is for a class, a demo an article or as Creative Director for the Gaston Collective Jewelry Company. I have my hands on the beads and metal every day.
I always seem to have a piece of wire, a bead or a pair of pliers in my hands.
How would you describe your design style or technique?
My design style is definitely "organic". I like to play with materials and see what they evolve into. My favorite pieces evoke ancient relics or found objects. I love to work with semi-precious stones and metal- the more rustic, the better. Copper and brass are the perfect compliment to stone and I love to pair the two elements together.
How did you come across Dakota Stones?
How did you come across Dakota Stones? I was introduced to Dakota Stones
by my good friends Bruce and Dee Dee Ogilvie. I was blown away by the quality and the prices and that they carry semi-precious beads with large holes! Any bead that fits easily on a 14-gauge wire is okay in my book!
What is your favorite shape/ size to work with and why?
It might sound dull, but my favorite bead is an 8mm round
semi-precious stone. They are perfect for wire-wrapping. I also love to knot a strand of simple round beads with vividly-colored thread. It's a new twist on the traditional knotted pearl necklace.
What is your favorite stone to work with and why?
Picking a favorite stone is a tough one. Right now I am really into freshwater pearls and large semi-precious rough stones. I also really like the matte beads that Dakota Stones offers. They are a perfect mix with metal. Also stones with large holes! It's brilliant to be able to pair those with heavy-gauge wire. No drilling needed!
What trend have you been noticing?
Metal! Wire! Soldering!
All of those things are really hot in jewelry making right now. Where do you see it going? It's exciting to see designers that usually only work with beads incorporating self-fabricated components into their designs to make their pieces really unique and interesting. I definitely see that trend continuing, because once you start working with metal, it's hard to stop.
Do you work in any other mediums beside jewelry design?
I like to think of myself as an "omni-crafter". Besides jewelry,
I also like to sew, quilt, knit, spin yarn, you name it. I always like to have my hands busy.
What's next for you?
Well, right now I am working on ideas for my second book. I am really into using the Flex Shaft and Dremel tools to drill stones and polish, shape and texture metal, so who knows what is going to evolve?
I am creating some really fun stuff. My first book Simple Soldering was really fun to write and has been really well received, so hopefully number two will go as well. I have high hopes.
If you could pick one person living or not to wear your jewelry who would it be and why?
Well, I have been watching a lot of Masterpiece Theater lately and am especially hooked on Downton Abbey and particularly the fashion of the early 1900's. I would have loved to be a jewelry designer for one of the major fashion houses of the day and designed beautiful Edwardian pieces to complement the fantastic clothes from that period. If the producers of Downton Abbey are looking for a jewelry designer,
I am definitely available!