Image via Galerie de Illuminata
Step right this way... Each month a group of jewelry artists use their blogs to get together online and answer the same question - each in their own way. The topic this time is:
What was your path to designing jewelry?
I've always been creative. When I was a girl I made miniature shoebox living environments for my Liddle Kiddles and Barbies. Beds out of check book boxes and couch patterns made out of cut and scotch taped cardboard from my father's dry cleaned shirts.
Later in Jr. (Portola in Tarzana) and High School (William Howard Taft in Woodland Hills California) I got into the choirs - which ruled my life for years afterwards. My college group was a jazz choir and we were so good that we entered competitions, toured and recorded. I've sung at the Playboy Mansion, The Hollywood Bowl and The Montreaux Jazz Festival. One time in an airport in Hawaii I was asked for my autograph. The only time. Must have made a big impression 'cos I'm still talking about it. In 1983 we made a record (flat black round thing? remember those?) using some new type of recording process and were nominated for a Grammy! Manhattan Transfer won of course, but what a thrill.
For reasons I won't bore you with I left music and wandered for a while. Taking lessons at American Bartending School (hate drunks - never got a job) and doing the books at a Moroccan restaurant. Then I decided to take an extension type class in Hollywood make up techniques. A life changing decision.
From that little class came a 17 year career doing make up, first in very low budget films and then in commercials. Then the actors decided to strike and I was out of work for 6 months. I was interested in a traditional jewelry making course being offered within walking distance of my house, but decided that spending $500.00 when I wasn't bringing in much money wasn't very smart. Then I glanced down at the bottom of the shop's window and noticed something that said $50. That caught my eye. It was about something called metal clay. Didn't make sense to me, so of course I had to go in and ask about it. Another big life changer. By the time the strike was over, I had lost 3 of my biggest clients and my fascination with the movie industry. Metal clay and jewelry making came to me at just the right time.
I started making things to sell at farmer's markets and local art shows and did pretty well, although it was a good thing that I had movie savings tucked away. Then after a couple of years I met a gal who worked at a bead store and told me they were looking for a metal clay teacher. That possibility had never occurred to me and I didn't think I was qualified, so I smiled, said "thanks for the suggestion" and blew it off. Well, she worked at the store and knew I hadn't gotten in touch with the owner and for the next five weeks she kept bugging me about it. I finally capitulated and made an appointment. Great Decision.
I can't imagine doing anything else. And when my hands are old and too decrepit and unable to perform the small muscle group tasks I love, I'll probably open a bead shop of my own so I can hire other talented folk to teach the medium that has become such a very large part of my life.
The other carney's and I decided to interpret this topic very loosely and I can't wait to see what they have to say. And this month we're welcoming Tonya Davidson to our midst. Be sure to check out everyone's posts and be sure to leave comments. We looove comments.
And more to come...