Growing up, I never knew my family was different from families. Not in a weird way, but the type of stuff we did. I never thought anything about it when other kids went skiing or to Disneyland, because we were always doing our own thing. Looking back, I know much of it was because we didn't have much money, but my mom was a budgeting ninja, and my most vivid beautiful memories are of road trips and vacations we took as a family thanks to her stellar ability to plan. Trips to the ocean, to the wild deserts of the southwest, with special moments burned into my mind's eye. The last trip we were able to take was in 2009 just before my dad's diabetic complications made travel impossible, an epic journey to Yellowstone and Montana to see some of America's most beautiful scenery and landmarks.
My folks were always creating. My dad dabbled in cutting faceted stones and woodworking with a lathe, while my mom meticulously created perfectly stitched quilts – piecing AND quilting them with her precise, perfectly space stitches. My grandmother would crochet ornate doilies and cozy afghans and little purses with baby dolls in them. I learned to crochet at the age of 4, just by sitting in her lap for hours and watching her. I don't even know the number of people who received her beautiful soft baby blankets as gifts.
I mention these two things because I think they were instrumental in my journey to working with silver. Some of our trips were to gem shows. At the time, it was like skewering my eyeballs because it seemed like we would be there for HOURS while mom and dad looked and looked at rocks...but at the same time, my takeaway was an intrinsic, almost instinctive knowledge about the importance of the quality of stones. Every stone I use today is one I have carefully hand-picked with the thought of quality in mind. Thanks, mom & dad. :)
My parents were always encouraging my artistic expression. I enjoyed drawing as a child, and I remember attending Ms. Crumrine's art classes once a week in the afternoons when I was in elementary school. I remember writing assignments for Ms. Anglin in high school – essays were the bane of my existence, but give me a creative story prompt, and my assignment still ended up being late because I had SO MUCH I wanted to include in the story. I feel that way now. I see a gem and want to capture the very best of it – to tell a story. When did the mysterious designs appear in this stone? What was going on in the world then? How do I best capture the magnificent power of the world changing over thousands of years to create the very piece of stone in my hand? To whose story will this piece speak?
I still remember specific beautiful necklaces my mother wore (and still does to this day). I still have some of the pieces my grandmother wore – and I treasure them and what I remember of her. Timeless pieces, attached to a legacy of memories. My goal is to create your legacy – special pieces that are reminders of people you love, or that will remind them of you for years to come. Each piece has hours of time invested, from selecting stones, to designing, to fabricating and bending the silver to the will of the stone, to polishing and finishing metal elements, to carefully setting the stone.