I was raised on the banks of the Tennessee River in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Our house was deep in the woods surrounded by the natural beauty of the area. I spent my childhood collecting rocks, animal bones, leaves and other like objects from the woods and shoreline. The first jewelry pieces I made were bead necklaces I constructed from red clay I dug from the riverbank. I would roll little balls and poke a stick through them to form a hole then let them dry in the sun. It never bothered me that they dissolved back into nothing after a few minutes swimming in the river.
These early beginnings embedded me with a deep sense of awe for the natural world and my role in preserving it. I truly believe that it is my calling to teach others the ways of conserving our resources by recycling and re-purposing trash into beautiful objects of art. Sharing my passion through teaching is one of my greatest joys.
I would estimate that at least 50% of my working time is spent sourcing and cleaning materials for use. I spend a lot of time in dirty basements, dusty thrift shops and at antique auctions searching for treasures. I can’t pass a yard sale or estate sale without stopping. I am not above dumpster diving. I like to tell people why I am buying the items and what I plan on doing with it. It opens a dialogue of recycling, sustainability, and hope.
I make all my jewelry by hand, in my home studio. Many of my pieces are one-of-a-kind. I build all my chains by hand using the same techniques (and often the same tools) that the ancient Etruscans and Romans used. It’s a slow process. One might say it’s a labor of love. They’re right! Each piece is finished with a museum grade microcrystalline wax that is designed to retard oxidation.