During my sophomore year of college, I signed up for an intro metalsmithing class. My first project turned out horrible, and so did the next one, and the one after that. It wasn’t until my last project when I made a necklace, that I felt like I was finally getting the hang of things. I was also relieved that the class was nearing the end, and I wouldn’t have to do any of this metalsmithing stuff ever again. But then, Bryan, the metalsmithing instructor at MSU talked me into taking the next class, Metals II. Most of my projects continued to end in disaster throughout the semester, but at least I was starting to enjoy being in the studio more, and eventually, I felt like I knew what was going on.
One of my first projects in metals II, Bird Pins
My final project for metals II, Copper Cups
At the end of the semester, Bryan approached me and told me about a job I might be interested in working as a production assistant at Hattie Rex. I was shocked that someone would recommend me for this job. It was exciting and intimidating, and I didn’t know if I could do it.A few weeks later I had an interview and was hired shortly after. I immediately knew taking the job was the right choice. I started by reproducing existing designs and finishing products Cassandra made. As time went on I got more and more creative license and was able to try out creating my own jewelry designs.
Last Christmas-time I was asked to create work for the artwalk...designs all mine that would be sold in a real store. I came up with a couple things, the most popular being what I call the squiggle earrings but are now known as the Rockefeller Earrings, the Wishbone Earrings and the Aztec Goddess necklace.
I did the same this Valentine’s day…
Currently, I spend my Sundays in the shop finishing work from the week, and catching up on wholesale orders; and when I get the time, I play around with new designs.
Most recently, I remade a ring I originally made for the December artwalk. Since making the first ring, I have really learned a lot about using stones in my work and wanted to challenge myself to make something new out of something old. I also tracked my process to show our customers how much work goes into making the jewelry we sell.
Doing this allowed me to see my growth in a tangible way, and made me reflect on how grateful I am to Bryan for believing in me, and for Tessa and Cassandra giving me a chance grow as a jeweler and metalsmith!