JUST A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME AND HOW I FOUND MY WAY AND CREATE WHAT I ABSOLUTELY LOVE . . .
In November 2015, I took an early retirement following 2 major spinal fusion surgeries for an advanced case of scoliosis. I was unable to return to full-time work, due to heavy weight restrictions and the inability to sit at a desk for long hours. Now I spend my time at home doing what I love-creating beautiful jewelry pieces to share with others.
I am fortunate that my husband Andy is very supportive and understanding of my creative modes- especially when I’m stocking my supplies and have multiple projects out in all stages of completion. We enjoy the peace and tranquility of our cozy cabin in the woods at the base of the beautiful Cascade Mountains here in Sisters, Oregon. It really is my sanctuary.
Between us, we have 5 amazing kids and their wonderful spouses, 8.5 grandkids to keep us busy (so far!) and enjoy snuggling with our hairless cat Vannie. We love to spend time in nature – camping in the redwoods, hiking, biking and skiing. One of our great joys is to travel and experience different cultures, art, music, food and people. We especially like to head somewhere warm during the winter and do some snorkeling. I also enjoy astronomy, photography, landscaping, reading, music and concerts, and theatre. I am a proud geek nerd and love Disney, Game of Thrones and especially all things Harry Potter! That is a special kind of obsession!
Life is what you make of it, and for us, life is good. I always say that we are not “childish”, but rather have a “child-like” sense of wonder and enjoy the simple things in life. We make a conscious choice to be thankful for what we have, and don’t worry too much about what we DON’T have. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, clean running water, and friends and family who love us. I know – it sounds sappy – but for us, it is true. It’s all relative and depends on your outlook – my glass is definitely half full. And it’s a beautiful glass.
My Inspiratation – How and Why it All Started
In 2014, my mother took me to a basic wire-wrapping class, and that was the first step of my journey into all this madness! The whole thing began with my desire to create a pocket watch bolo tie for my husband. After a fruitless search for one to purchase (and dealing with non-responsive artists with seriously lacking customer service skills), I decided I would just make one myself. Ironically, my poor hubby is still waiting for his bolo tie… (P.S. On February 11, 2017, my hubby finally received not one, but TWO bolo ties for his birthday. Thanks for your patience, honey! )
As far as my jewelry inspiration and how I came to do what I do….
I worked for over 20 years for a large corporation. I was required to wear a uniform, and no jewelry was allowed. I felt stifled – a clone in an impersonal world where I was just a number. And I really, really dislike being generic! I left the company following my first spinal fusion surgery, and it was so exciting to wear nice clothes. I leaned towards an eclectic mix of modern and vintage clothing. I have always loved vintage clothing – especially the elegance of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and everything else up to the 50’s and 60’s. It was all about the quality and the details. AND the Twirly Dresses, of course! People were always commenting on my unique style. Accessorizing was second nature for me, but I longed for unusual, yet affordable pieces instead of cheap mass-produced ones.
I am also fascinated with the intricate mechanics of the old pocket watch movements and the workmanship that was hidden within the case. They have such delicate etching and gorgeous damaskeening finishes. I loved miniature toys as a little girl, so this comes as no surprise to the adult version of me! I am also intrigued with the mystery surrounding the pieces I start with, and I find immense joy in creating something beautiful to wear out of them. Who were the men and women who owned these timepieces? I wonder about the history of these people who are long forgotten. I believe we are all important, and I’d like to think that a little piece of their story lives on in my designs. I became obsessed with making my own unique wearable art with these amazing pocket watches. My mind exploded with possibilities, and after so many long years of suffocating, analytical work, my creativity was free to take flight!
The Nitty Gritty Details of the Artwork
I lean towards using vintage brooches, pendants and earrings that I can incorporate into my pocket watch designs for a more elegant look. Folks have described my art as Neo-Victorian, Romantic or Renaissance, Bohemian chic, or simply upcycled and repurposed assemblage pieces. I really don’t fit into a single genre – and I don’t even try to. I am a self-proclaimed nerd and an information junky, so I love all things scientific. I’m a fan of really well done fantasy and science fiction, so I find that the Steampunk style is an inspiration for me. I use “Steampunk” to loosely describe some of my pieces, for lack of a better word. It is a strange word to those who don’t know anything about the genre. When I mention it, people hear the word “punk” – so colored Mohawks, black lips, and thick eyeliner come to mind. They are missing out on a magical, wondrous, steam-powered world full of gears and goggles, top hats and corsets, talking mechanical birds and gorgeous hot air balloons – all meeting up in an alternative futuristic Victorian time warp where elegance, history, science and fantasy all exist in one glorious world. I tend to gravitate to the beautiful watch parts for my designs, so many of my pieces are reflective of that genre.
I love putting the time and effort into creating these unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art. I create them with all authentic antique and vintage parts – including old pocket watches and parts, intricate porcelain and etched metal watch dials, keyholes and keys, brooches, pendants and earrings, and vintage wristwatches for my earrings. I also accent the pieces exclusively with genuine Swarovski crystals. I believe it is what makes me different. Some special pieces may come with a pretty vintage necklace or a vintage watch fob chain that I have lengthened using my handmade beaded chain links. It is getting much more difficult (and more expensive) to find the parts, but I think the beautiful patina and history of the pieces is worth it, and that it adds much more value. Because they are old, some pieces may show wear or may be missing a few rhinestones. I feel that this adds to the uniqueness and authenticity of the pieces. Check out the exquisite details and intricate layering of gears, cogs and movement plates. I spend many hours using tweezers and a magnifying glass! I would not be able to sell them at a reasonable cost if I based it on my time investment – but that’s ok, because I consider it a labor of love that is meditative and very satisfying for me. If you are looking for a quality statement piece, this is where you will find it.
I upcycle my authentic pieces rather than buying new reproduction gears and watches because I believe in doing my part in respecting our planet Earth by reclaiming my components. Many other pieces out there are actually new pressed and formed watch and gear charms. Some are simply watches hung on a chain with no embellishments, or just a new charm attached to a watch movement. While they are beautiful in their own way – I prefer the history behind the pieces made with antique parts.
About Pop Culture and Harry Potter-Inspired Jewelry and Collectibles
If you love Harry Potter and Disney as much as I do, you’ve found the right place! I had trouble finding jewelry I would wear myself, as most of the available jewelry out there were one of either two extremes- either cheaply made and/or geared towards children – or expensive 14K gold and pure sterling pieces. There just wasn’t much to be found in the middle price range. So I solved that little problem by creating my own, and decided to share!
I have a unique line of collectibles and jewelry for teens and adults that is affordable. Unlike my other line of authentic antique pocket watch jewelry, I do use mostly new Tibetan silver components, as they come in the largest variety. I try to create unique AND affordable jewelry for the Harry Potter fan. I also create a few upscale pieces of Harry Potter-inspired jewelry, created with vintage and antique pocket watches and parts, hardware and jewels for the more discriminating adult. I carry an upscale selection of props and gifts for the collector or for that amazing party – because family and friends demanded that I sell my wands and Monster Books after they saw the props at our huge Harry Potter Party we had last fall. ( Click here to see photos.) Here, you can find a unique piece to share your Harry Potter love without breaking the bank!
I’ve recently added a line of Fantasy and Fairytale jewelry, including jewelry inspirations from Disney, Game of Thrones, Wizard of Oz, Outlander and many others. I’m also working on a Gemstone and Nature Collection with simply and elegant pieces inspired by my love of nature.
All jewelry items are hand inspected one last time and carefully packed for shipping in order to ensure that they arrive perfectly. Because I believe in doing what I can to protect our environment, most of my jewelry will arrive in a beautiful eco-friendly package. Gift boxes are 100% recycled (65% post-industrial and 35% post-consumer content), recyclable and food safe. The tissue paper is partially recycled, and the crinkle paper is created with recycled brown paper shopping bags.
WHY am I Doing This???
I am so obsessed with creating, that I have created entirely too many pieces…and I surely don’t need to keep them all to myself! In the beginning, I filled my own jewelry box(es!) to overflowing and made gifts for friends and family. I feared that potential customers wouldn’t appreciate my work. I am basically very shy, so it was very difficult to lay my soul bare and to be open to criticism. But complete strangers started commenting on the uniqueness of the pieces I wore, and wanted to know where to buy them. I have been met with such overwhelmingly positive feedback, and have gained a new sense of confidence. What little constructive criticism I received only helped me to better my art, so feedback was invaluable. I have gathered the courage to put myself out there, and I have been rewarded with such sweet satisfaction in the enjoyment, fascination and responses from customers and the shops that carry my work.
My mom has taught me many important lessons,
and one is to share.
It is sometimes hard to let go, but I truly enjoy finding homes for them,
where they are appreciated as a treasured piece of jewelry that brings joy to their new owners.
So here I am today…
Sharing my passion with those of you who love the same kinds of things.
People like you, who truly are one-of-a-kind, too!