About Our Local Handmade Jewelry Designers
For as long as I can remember, our family has survived on our own business ventures. We have created, funded and breathed life into several endeavors; my grandfather and two of his sons building and running a golf course, my father and his brother running a fish farm, and my uncle and aunt owning a small blind business. I guess you could say it was in our blood to partake in creating something larger than oneself.
A few years back, my mother and I, after watching and working in several of our families businesses, decided to start something of our own. Slowly we have learned and developed new techniques and pushed the limits to grow this business into something that is too, larger than ourselves.
We are ever expanding, yet staying true to our roots as a family business. Keeping close to what has kept our family alive for years. We hope that we can share our love for what we do with you.
A true daughter of the South, I grew up in Columbus, MS, where friends and family created the artistic traditions I have come to love and respect. I graduated from Mississippi University for Women, where I continued my love for literature and teaching, supplementing it with knowledge of art, color, and design with an Art History minor. It was here that my passion for color, shape, and an appreciation for traditional craftsmanship was born. One of my amazing teachers, Dr. Mary Evelyn Stringer, a Harvard-educated professor of Art History at MUW, taught me not only a chronological history of the great artists, artisans, builders, and craftsmen of western civilization, but also how intricately connected art was with science, technology, and the other humanities, and that art was but the outflow of human emotions expressing themselves.
One of my earliest clear childhood memories is getting up on a Saturday morning, walking across a field to view up close the gorgeous colors of a tree in full fall foliage. I was seven, and I wanted those colors on my paper. I toted with me a small box of fat Crayolas and a sheet of plain white paper. Looking up through the magically colored branches to the blue sky peeking through, I knew the painterly skills required were beyond me--the smell of the waxy crayons was the smell of the classroom, not appropriate for that moment of epiphany in the natural world. I sat on the roots of the tree, however, in awe of the beauty that nature can unfold for us when we are paying attention. For me, the natural world as represented by those colors of gold, bronze, russet, green, and blue, the pattern and color play in the tree and the sky that my seven-year-old self-connected with on that long ago day hold the same inspirational value today as it did then. Now, however, instead of striving to "get it on my paper," I try to "get it in my jewelry." And on my best day, I strive to present what for me represents everything about the beauty of the natural world in a work of art that is intimate, personal, and inspiring for others, something that gives the wearer a connection with and an appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.
I have found that all the colors and shapes of nature as a macrocosm are reflected in the microcosm of gems, minerals, pearls, stones, leathers, and metals that compose my palette.
The world for me was always about patterns and colors, not just shapes and objects. When I was very young my two favorite things were to take pieces of metal, old screws, rusty nails, and other items from my father’s “junk drawer” and arrange them together in elegantly intertwined sets. My other favorite activity was collecting, cataloging, and studying rocks. Since I grew up on a gravel drive, my first stones were agates and chunks of quartz, which I learned how to tumble and polish in a small rock tumbler. Later, I learned to place these tumbled stones together with those rough pieces of metal.
As I realized that my love of crafting wearable art and jewelry could become a business, I began participating in crafts fairs and pop-up boutiques. I started taking business classes to hone skills needed to be an independent craftsman, and I enrolled in art and fashion classes through the Università Bocconi to further refine my artistic skills. I am currently a student at the New Orleans School of Metalsmithing, where I am taking classes in metalsmithing of brass, silver, and copper. Recently I was accepted into the Mississippi and Louisiana Craftsmen Guilds where our jewelry is displayed.
The wearable works of art that I create are completely unique, just as their owners are. No designs I make are ever replicated exactly, as each stone, pearl, gem, or mineral determines its own setting. I create jewelry for women and men who know style and value tradition, but are comfortable enough in their own skins to bend traditional style by choosing perhaps a faceted Peruvian opal matched with copper over a more traditional polished diamond set in silver.
For me, however, to revere historical design means to transfer it to today's creations instead of treating it as a museum relic. Traditions continue in the present because people put their own personal stamp on them and incorporate them into their own lives to create a connection and an appreciation for the past, and I continue that legacy with my jewelry. I believe that owning a handcrafted item of jewelry expresses an attitude towards life and a connection with our environment and our earth. Semi-precious stones, pearls, and metals--chosen not just for color but also for their geometrical and organic interest in building a statement piece of wearable art--comprise the rough materials to create the pieces that project an aura of beauty, personality, and appreciation for the natural elements that make up my design palette.
I am a proud army brat who grew up all over the world. I knew that I would always make things, as my earliest experiences are of putting things together. After graduating from high school and serving in the US Coast Guard, where I did more traveling and learning about the world, I moved back to Mississippi, my family's home state for many generations. Here I attended college for a while and worked in a family business. I later found an artistic home at the Penland School of the Arts at Penland, North Carolina, where I took formal classes in furniture making and design and studied traditional wood crafting. I have been a long standing member of the Mississippi Craftsmen's Guild, and recently accepted into the Louisiana Guild, along with the Arts and Crafts Gallery in downtown Boulder, CO.
I believe in simplicity in design and in construction, in using simple lines and traditional proportions. Since I enjoy spending time outdoors, especially in wooded areas with old growth timber, I have always used wood as my medium. I love taking something that was once a growing, living thing and changing it into something of beauty for human use. I especially like exposing the grain and knots of wood, the marks of how the living tree adapted to its environment. I believe in reusing our natural resources and make every effort in my craft to use reclaimed wood and other metals, which has been all that I have worked with for the past several years. Part of mission as a woodworker is help sustain our forests and trees. My family and I plant several acres of trees to keep close what we hold dear for future generations to enjoy.
Some of my favorite woods to work with, aside from hand cut trees, are reclaimed wood, especially heart pine and oak. I tear out this wood piece by piece from old buildings that are being demolished or are falling down due to neglect. I love taking antique wood which is over a hundred years old and re purposing it to give it life for another hundred years. It is old growth heartwood and is as solid as the history it represents; it has a story to tell us of the past, if we listen.