I began learning metalsmithing in the 1970s with two years of classes in cloisonné in Seattle. I made cloisonné and stained glass windows until the early 80s.
In 1989 I moved to Mercer Island and learned how to do wire wrapping from a local jeweler. In the mid-90s I took two years of silversmithing and lapidary classes in Boulder, CO, along with two years of classes making lampworked glass beads from an artist in Louisville, CO.
In 2000 I moved to Port Townsend and took two series of classes concurrently: I took classes in Precious Metal Clay™ from Kathy Van Kleeck for eight years; I took classes in bronze casting from Tom Jay and Sara Mall Johani of The Lateral Line Bronze Casting Foundry, Chimacum. I took a certification class in Precious Metal Clay from Patrik Kusek in 2010 through Rio Grande, a jewelry supply company in Albuquerque, NM.
I am still working on bronze sculptures, but I stopped working with Precious Metal Clay™ in 2011 in favor of a return to traditional metalsmithing. In January 2014 I began a series of classes with Walter Massey in Port Townsend where I am learning repoussé and making hammered copper bowls. I am also learning braising techniques for the first time. I will attend his classes as long as I can. I’m expanding into making garden art but still love making jewelry and small boxes. Walter makes big pieces, like wall hangings and garden gates, so I miniaturize his techniques and turn them into jewelry.
The techniques I like best are repoussé, hammering, using a jewelers saw to cut out designs, etching, using my rolling mill, fold-forming, and using cold connections. The most fun I have ever had is playing with hammers and fire.
I am inspired by nature and my Celtic heritage. I like to make pieces that look like they were just discovered in an archeological dig somewhere in Ireland or Scotland.
In 1965 I learned my philosophy of life from The Lord of the Rings: Good spirits live in rocks, trees and water, and jewelry has power. Here I am, living in Port Townsend in a world of rocks, trees and water, and I’m making jewelry.