The manipulation of original metals has become a strong part of my creations. Being able to “smack around” the metals can be very soothing and therapeutic, while imprinting a part of the spirit in every piece. This is accomplished, for example, by using a hammer passed on to me by a favorite relative, using the roughed up head to impress what that individual has already created through years of hammering. If a person before me owned their hammer and used it to build a home, used it in their hobby, subjected it to all kinds of beatings over its life, it causes marring on the head of the hammer. Without smoothing out the head of the tool, I’m able transfer the texture through the years and use of their hammer to my work. Sometimes you’ll get a piece hammered by people that meant something dearly to me and may be passed on and I’m trying to keep them alive in my heart and share that with you. Or perhaps it is a piece of metal that was flooded or in human ignorance, thrown into a beautiful river. The river and nature subject their own torment and beauty on the metal, pitting it as only nature can. When I kayak I rescue the river of its littered piece, literally recycling it, but then also cleaning up the texture that nature inflicted and use it to hammer on. I have taken something that typically is a negative and spun it positive and passed it on in a beautiful jewelry work that is enjoyed for years to come. I enjoy that energy and passing on of that spirit. It becomes a recycling of life!
Both techniques of cold connections and soldering or brazing are accomplished in my jewelry. The works usually dictate themselves of which direction I am to take for I sketch with the actual metals. I enjoy bouncing back and forth between the techniques involved in the art of jewelry making and work hard at concept jewelry that I then pull my lines from to share with the public.
Occasionally I will incorporate mainly semi-precious stones to add a hint of color if it feels right. I sometimes use odd elements as well to add that special touch to make the piece unique or more engaging. It is also common to add my own created found objects, then piecing it all together like a puzzle.
An abstract feel is where I tend to express myself, allowing the person viewing to interpret the work as it touches their lives. There is consistency in the lines I create and I recreate items that are in my own line. Because every item is actually hand produced and the textures come from nature and the placement of the texture can’t be exact every single time, even in the wholesale line, each piece has its very subtle uniqueness and become a one-of-a-kind to be treasured and enjoyed.
On a more personal note, art has been in my life since I was a small child and I was heavily influenced by my ancestry who spent the majority of their life in metal shops and foundries with their own successful businesses in Salisbury, Pennsylvania. Exploring different media over those years was more of a hobby and I am primarily self taught. Luck should have it that my occupation of being in the Air Force at the time would allow me to explore overseas and many states in the U.S., seeing different art forms. I settled in Pittsburgh for a few years growing up while obtaining some of my secondary education and a degree at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. About 20 years ago, while working as a business manager, I moved to the mountains of western Maryland and completed classes and/or assisted in metal sculptural and jewelry classes at Frostburg State University, Touchstone Center for Crafts and the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman, to name a few. This is where I truly found my calling and my favorite art medium that just “fit” and I became a metal mamma. At that time, I got very heavily involved in the art community in various ways. I helped to establish a successful artists’ cooperative that helped promote beautiful local art through sales and art shows. A great deal of time was spent in creating my unique and different product and exploring the best avenues for showing and selling. My work has been and is still seen in gallery shows, artist studio tours, cooperatives, and stores or other such locations. I am an award-winning jeweler and sculptor who professionally shows and sell my work throughout the U.S., to include New York City and at times overseas. Occasionally I teach classes on my craft and on booth display. I work out of my small home studio known as Meadowbrook Arts in the quaint and up-and-coming arts district of Cumberland, Maryland, where I also support many art organizations. And on the best of days, I find myself at our recreational cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia creating and hammering sterling silver on a stump by a fire in the woods as my daughter makes me smores!