When did you discover that you loved making jewelry?
I stumbled into it. I had never considered pursuing jewelry making in any way. I love the level of detail and intricacy in jewelry. I love designing. I love the small scale. I thrive in designing and creative pursuits.
Did you study jewelry?
I was originally somewhat self-taught, eventually I took a few classes. After that I had an amazing opportunity to work/study under Paul Bartnik, a jeweler in Portland, Oregon. Working with a master jeweler like Paul was the most valuable learning experience one could ask for. I learned a lot in a six-month period. I have also studied gem cutting with Dalan Hargrave and have also taken classes with Kent Raible and Thomas Dailing.
What is your favorite material?
18k to 22k yellow gold and working with platinum. Kind of hard to choose favorites.
Are you influenced by trends?
Definitely. Trends I love lately: vintage jewelry styles with a modern touch. Textures. Raw diamonds. Pastel-colored gemstones especially rose cuts. Stackable rings.
Tell us about your piece “Unfurl Rebel Jewel.”
“Unfurl Rebel Jewel” was created specifically to enter the Saul Bell Design Awards. I was inspired by a trip down the Oregon coast this past fall and the many bridges along the way. My other inspirations were art deco and Mosque ceilings. I used 18k yellow gold. The main stone was a gemstone from my collection, a Brazilian Cruzeiro tourmaline. It was cut by Dalan Hargrave. The gradient change in the color of the tourmaline was perfect for this piece and I decided to set the smaller darker stone upside down so it would work better with the pendant. Purple sapphires and Canadian diamonds accent the piece as well.
What is one word of advice you would give to beginning jewelers?
To really take the time to learn the foundation of making jewelry from scratch. Foundational skills are the building blocks that will make you a better jeweler and help you strengthen your creative problem-solving skills. For me, jewelry making is all creative problem solving. You don’t need to invest in expensive tools like a laser welder six months into jewelry making. Invest your time first, it will take you further.