DCB is me and I've had a thing for rocks since I was a little girl. Beach rocks, rubbed smooth and glossy by the waves, colorful stones from my aunt's tumbler, the sparkling magnificence of the precious jewels at the Smithsonian's gem gallery. I wore out my Rocks and Minerals book looking at the pictures, glorying in the vibrant colors, and imagining the way the stones -- smooth, craggy, faceted and polished -- would feel in my fingers.
Then I grew up and became a a stepmom and a political science prof and a food writer, a dog mom and later even a cat mom, and a grandmother and life got distracting. Except that I never outgrew my craving for beautiful jewelry or my delight in scanning the sand as I walked the beach, my love for rocks went on the back burner.
But the last few years have been transformative. Jennifer Dawes of Dawes Design – an amazing woman whose work I first saw on the cover of the Sundance catalogue -- did some spectacular work for me. I visited her studio in California, had conversations with her about rocks, started to think about how she did what she did and the old passion came roaring back with the pent up energy of decades. Jen has been the most generous of mentors and has given generously of her time to guide me in this business. Pretty amazing when you consider she can make this kind of magic.
In my search for local teachers I found that the woman who wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Metal Jewelry lived just up the highway from me. What are the odds? The book clearly had my name on it. Nancy Lee is the most patient and gentle of teachers, a fount of support and good advice. She too does lovely work -- fascinating metal creations, some with lovely set stones, some patinated, some enameled. Check her out here.
And so I began learning to work with metal and collecting stones to design and make jewelry myself. It's been an amazing adventure for a political science professor, of all things, turned food writer and food photographer, to start using a creative part of her brain she didn't even know she had. And while I have gotten the hang of it, and I make pieces I love, I imagine this as a lifelong education. I've loved my earlier professions, but I am having more fun than I ever have before.
As I have worked, I have stayed true to the little girl inside me who is infatuated with rocks. And while sparkling, orderly, mathematically precise facets are lovely (I mean, really, really lovely!), what really turn me on are stones in the rough, carved from the earth and sitting on my bench without a whole lot of human intervention.