Earlier this month I was contacted by Erika, who writes the blog with her daughters, and she asked if she could interview me because they occasionally feature Rhode Island artisans, designers and craftspeople, and wanted to include my work!
The blog includes beautiful photographs taken all over our little state, local play and show reviews, museum exhibits, books written by or set in RI, events, dining and restaurant experiences and so much more!
Here’s a bit of my interview but you can read the full interview by clicking the link.
Tell us about your work ~
I spend lots of time hunting… Searching for rare and beautiful sea glass for my sea glass jewelry… using only real, found on the beach sea glass that I wrap in sterling silver wire, keeping the jewelry as simple as possible to highlight the beauty of the sea glass. And, hunting for unique antique wax seals (stamps), which are very hard to find, and hand casting them into fine silver, instead of wax, to create little meaningful and/or inspirational wax seal necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets.
How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I’m an accidental jeweler… I’ve always been an avid sea glass collector and wanted to create jewelry with these beautiful little surf tumbled gems. About 25 years ago I purchased some tools, books and sterling silver wire and made it happen, originally self taught but later taking classes at RISD and Metalwerx to learn new techniques and gain inspiration. I continue taking classes when I have the time!
The wax seal jewelry evolved in a similar fashion… about 8 years ago I began to experiment with pmc (pure silver precious metal clay) and a few wax seals I had from my childhood. This wax seal jewelry quickly expanded as my antique wax seal collection grew and now I’m not sure whether I purchase the wax seals to create my jewelry or if I sell my wax seal jewelry to support my wax seal collecting habit!
What’s your favorite item to create?
Probably the wax seal jewelry and usually the favorite will be whatever wax seal I have most recently acquired. Once I purchase a new (old) wax seal I spend days getting to know it and researching it… the symbols on the matrix, the type of seal or handle in an attempt to date the seal. With the armorial wax seals I try to get an idea of the person, or kind of person, who originally had it engraved. None of these antique seals come with any information!
What’s your best seller?
Oddly enough, it’s the Georgian period skull wax seal necklace with the engraving ES FUI SUM ERIS which is Latin and means AS YOU ARE NOW SO ONCE WAS I, AS I AM NOW SO MUST YOU BE. The skull seal itself is one of 6 on a wheel seal and the only one of these 6 that I had no interest in. Unfortunately, the other 5 seals did not translate well in the silver and I was bummed that I had spent so much money on the antique seal so as a last ditch effort I stamped the skull into the silver and I immediately fell in love with it! I expanded what I could do with that skull wax seal and using just a portion of the seal matrix I make earrings and rings that are really popular as well!
How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I have lived in RI for most of my life… living in Portsmouth from the age of 6 months (thank you mom and dad!) until college graduation when I moved all the way to Newport. I did take a few years to live aboard a sailboat, Florida in the winter and Newport in the summer, but I am firmly back on land in Newport now! I discovered “there’s no place like home!”
This wonderful Rhody ocean and nautical living has clearly influenced my jewelry… I have many anchor wax seals, one that has the word HOPE on a banner draped across the anchor, and several ship, mermaid and compass wax seals.
I heart Rhody!