Art educator’s work on display in Artist Corner
My artwork has always come from nature. Images of growing things, sometimes realistic, impressionistic, or even abstracted nature images are my favorite subjects. I am stirred by natural hues of green growing things, lush rusts, golds, browns of the earth below, and the blue greens of bodies of water. I’ve also come to understand that in addition to the intrinsic call for me to make art, the act of making it helps me process ideas and defuse the stressors of everyday life. Making art brings me joy. Perhaps that is why I kept it just for me, rather than to pursue it as a career.
As an art student at Kearney State College my emphasis was drawing and painting, but I also loved printmaking and sculpture. Basically, I loved it all, but felt my calling to education and I dearly wanted to keep art as my passion and release. Over the years my time, interest, and materials dictated what kind of artwork I created. I water colored through the years my children grew. After our move to Norfolk I had access to a Kiln and worked in glass fusion always with organic colors and shapes. Beading and jewelry making soon followed after that and still continues today. It too, has had a shift toward the natural, semi-precious stones and crystals.
Q. Can you tell us about your inspiration behind the jewelry pieces currently on display at the Norfolk Arts Center?
A. Nature has always been the inspiration of my work in both painting and jewelry making. Additionally, the creation of my jewelry is often inspired by the stone it contains.
Q. What materials and techniques do you primarily use in your jewelry creations?
A. I use either silver, gold plate or hypo-allergenic metals in my creations, as I want all to be able to wear my one-of-a-kind pieces. Stone beads and crystal tumbled pendants. My beaded necklaces and bracelets are created and strung on a strong coated wire and crimped very tightly. My techniques are changing lately to include more wire wrapping and I’m trying my hand at silversmithing soon. I will be sharing that later at some point.
Q. How did you get started in the world of jewelry making, and how has your style evolved over the years?
A. Internally I have always been an artist and have used painting as an aside and stress reliever for many years. However, I had to have major back surgery and my dear friends Peg Timmer-Kathol and Sherri Stuifbergan took me to a glass fusing workshop in S. Dakota and I was hooked. I could sit and cut glass and be surprised by what the magic kiln had made them into. Plus, it was fun to do together, I miss that. That naturally led me to beading, which we also did together while I was convalescing. For a short time, I worked with fusing and beautiful glass beads, but as then I ran across some stone beads. OH boy oh boy!! I had managed a rock shop in Estes Park right out of high school and knew I needed to use them, a bit pricier, but they became my staple. I only later learned about each stone’s crystal vibration properties.
Q. Can you describe the creative process you go through when designing a new piece of jewelry?
A. My process often involves laying things out in small piles and playing with them. Many times two or three projects. Sometimes just before I fall asleep at night, I solve design problems in my head then in the morning I rush to my workbench and put them together. I usually walk away from them in the afternoon and early evening, look at them with new eyes and finalize. (Unless of course I am getting ready for a show then it is abbreviated a bit.) I do create for others and that process often includes the client.
Q. What is the significance of the Norfolk Arts Center as a venue for showcasing your jewelry?
A. The Norfolk Art Center has been such a large part of my art family. I taught classes there, I’ve taken classes there, I was on the visual arts committee, and We supported a few shows there, as well as donated funds in honor of my mother, an art teacher and artist after she passed. I have been showing and selling my jewelry there for over 15 years. I also had an Atrium show in 2020. It feels like home and even though Ive moved away I want to continue my affiliation there for as long as I can.
Q. Do you have a favorite piece among those currently exhibited? If so, what makes it special to you?
A. I think my favorite pieces in this collection are the “flowers on the garden gate” series. It has a funny story. I found some tiny flat silk flowers at a garage sale and later at the stationary section of Michael’s and thought these would be so sweet as earrings. So I made a pair for my soon to be granddaughter in law. She loved them so much I thought, “this will be something others aren’t doing, and I think they are special”. She and my grandson Kaleb encouraged me and said they could really see their friends wearing them. So I’ve been creating pendants and earrings and the response has been incredible. HOWEVER, the day before I was to take them to a show, I happened to look into a people magazine and found MANY celebs and others wearing floral earrings! Okay So I didn’t invent them alone. It must have been one of those streams of consciousness things. Mine ARE different, and most have a stone attached. GRIN
Q. How do you hope the viewers and art enthusiasts at the Norfolk Arts Center will connect with or interpret your jewelry?
A. My pieces there at the NAC range from several floral earrings at $15.00 to a wire wrapped Labradorite pendant set. Several sets with pendants and earrings and many bracelets this time. I truly hope patrons will connect with the variety of styles, sizes, and prices that I try to keep as low as I can for the quality.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring jewelry artists who want to pursue a career in this field?
A. My advice to others is to take a class and learn the right way to bead, wire wrap and jump in! Keep moving forward. My rule of thumb has been to add something new to your work every 6 or so months and then Practice, Practice, Practice. My next big step is silversmithing. I am in the very rudimentary stages of it. I’ve been very lucky to watch an incredible artist here in Kearney, who I’m showing how to bead. Additionally, I am watching YouTube and reading a lot. HAVE FUN, if it isn’t fun don’t do it, find something else.