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My earliest memories of both her and my grandmother are of them "making stuff"...from sewing to crocheting, to knitting, to tons of different kinds of crafting.  There isn't a time when I don't remember them having their hands in something.  I guess it seemed only natural that I would carry on that tradition.  In the end, I have always felt like the luckiest of three generations of creative women, as I have gotten to harness that drive to make things, and actually turn it into my career.

I grew up about 30 miles north of Boston, MA in a small town called Salem, NH.  Located within an hour of both the White Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, I remember spending two weeks every summer at the beach, playing near the ocean and collecting the wonderful, smooth stones that washed up on the shore.  Their weight, smoothness, and warmth were somehow so appealing to me...comforting in a way.  I would collect bucketfuls of them, and spend hours admiring my collection.  I also remember spending time up in the mountains, fascinated with the colors and textures of the trees, the granite facings that lined the hills and that innate balance in nature that we all perceive as being beautiful.  All of these things played a part in the creative person I was to become as an adult.

I got into metal work in a round about sort of way.  As I have evolved as an artist, the one genre that I am always drawn back to is collage.  I love taking bits and pieces of seemingly unrelated things and putting them together in a composition that is beautiful to look at and also somehow makes sense and tells a story. Little did I realize I would take my passion for collage along with me on my adventures in metal!

As far as jewelry went, I'd previously tried beading, though there was always something not quite satisfying about it.  I didn't enjoy working with someone else's creations as my project materials--it felt as if I was somehow left out of the loop during part of the creation process.  When I came across metalsmithing, I sensed immediately that I had found the control within jewelry-making that I was seeking:  it provided me pure, raw materials to work with, and from the minute I got my hands on some sheet silver and some wire, I was hooked. 

My very first creation was actually a necklace that was a gift to myself, and I still wear the same necklace every day.  It contains both my husband's and my initials, the date of our wedding, our three childcare's initials and the dates they were born.  It is a tangible reminder of my life's sweetest, most cherished memories, and from the moment I put it on, it gave me great sense of joy just to wear it.  I loved the sound of the precious metal, and the feeling of the weight of it around my neck.  The smoothness and the texture evoked those childhood memories of smooth, warm stones from the ocean, and the color of the metals brought back to mind the hues and textures of the mountains that I loved as a child.  In essence, I had come full circle, back to collage, but instead of being on a canvas, it was now on a chain around my neck, and I enjoyed the feeling of the charms beneath my fingers as I touched them throughout the day.  It was so cool to be able to wear constant reminders  of the things I have cherished the most in my life, and when friends and family noticed them, they soon began asking me to make necklaces for them as well.

Now, without going any further, I should probably say right here that I have the most wonderful, patient, and supportive husband ever.  I remember Tom's initial reaction to my new "hobby".  After nearly 10 years of marriage, he was fairly used to me picking up a new medium as time went on.  Our entire time together I have been constantly evolving as an artist, and part of that has been experimenting with different approaches and creative interests.  When I told him that I wanted to try metalsmithing, as always, he just smiled at me patiently and let me "get my hands dirty" in my studio, waiting all along for me to move on to my next artistic infatuation.  That was several years ago, now, and my passion for metal is still going strong.  I remember him telling me once that he admired me for being so "brave".  I was so touched when he shared that with me, because I never realized he saw me in that light.  He went on to explain that he thought it was fearless that I could just completely jump into my artistic pursuits,  in most cases being completely self-taught, never letting "little things" like playing with fire and using power tools deter me.  It gave me some insight into how he perceived me as a creative being, and furthermore, let me know that he truly appreciated that part of me, even though sometimes that artistic side of me could completely frustrate him.  What a guy....  I will say again, I am a lucky, lucky girl.

It was Tom who actually got my work into my very first store.  It was with his support and encouragement that I showed Kathy, the owner of a lovely local store called Stonecrop, my initial designs, and immediately she wanted to carry them in her shop.  I was amazed and flattered and from then on, it has been almost like a dream to me.  I have often likened going into a store and seeing my jewelry displayed or getting an order from a customer online as making me feel like a kid on Christmas morning after Santa Claus has come.  To this day, I still will say every once in a while that it amazes me that people love the things I make so much that they actually pay for them to make them their own.  

I hope I never stop feeling as privileged as I do that people take my jewelry and use it to help them archive the life that they have lived in a way that is tangible and that they can wear.  D. H. Lawrence once said, "The living moment is everything..." I've always loved that quote for two reasons:  it invites us to take the time to enjoy the human experience, while at the same time reminding us that time is fleeting.  I decided to call my work "collage jewelry" because to me that is what each grouping represents.  "The living moment is everything.  Wear it with joy." then became my tag line as a personal message and reminder to all of my customers to celebrate and cherish their lives through the pieces that they have asked me to create especially for them.

I have to admit.....I have the best job EVER.  It is my hope that my pieces eventually become family heirlooms. and that many generations to come will continue to add on to their families' “collages”.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to bring a part of myself and my creativity into the lives of the people who wear my jewelry. That alone makes every moment in my studio a "living moment" that I, myself, can both enjoy and cherish.