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A few years ago I began taking metal smithing classes at Western Illinois University (where I have been a painting and drawing professor since 1994). As soon as I cut my first sheet of metal and manipulated it to become something new, I was hooked. I set up a metals studio in my home and have been making jewelry ever since.

My background as a painter influences my work as does the beauty I find all around me - in the fields of the countryside and in my own garden. My mother was an antique dealer for the last 30 years of her life and specialized in Victorian and Edwardian jewelry. I can remember rummaging through her inventory as she set up for antique shows and being completely absorbed by examining each beautiful piece while in awe of its complexity and beauty. Those experiences have stayed with me and have remained cherished memories that seep into my work as I put pencil to paper to design my next piece.

I am pleased to find that my jewelry resonates with women who express themselves by the way they adorn themselves, as do I - sometimes quiet, sometimes fierce, and sometimes wonderfully feminine, but always strong and confident. These are the women I think of when I design my pieces.

So here’s to you individuals who want to wear something to express the wonderful person you are – I hope I can play a small part in helping you do that!