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My path to making jewelry has been unusual! I grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota to attend Carleton College. I have a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Minnesota. I have used neither degree professionally. Instead, I went directly from graduate school into construction. As it turns out, while I was working on my Master's degree, I realized that, although I excelled at academics, I needed to work with my hands. I learned that I enjoyed construction by working on projects at home, and I found that it offered many things that I wanted for my life: physical labor, working with my hands, problem solving, learning about new things constantly, being able to see the results of my work in a tangible way, and an easy way to be self-employed. Ultimately I became a licensed remodeling contractor.
My artistic side began to be exercised when I learned to knit in 2000. At about the same time I started playing around with wire and experimenting with forms and textures. A friend jokingly suggested that I should combine the two interests and knit with wire, so of course I tried it. While I found knitting with wire to be unappealing, the entire concept of working a textile technique with wire was intriguing. I soon found that my experiments with wire braiding and weaving were taking over my life, and by 2007 I had left the construction industry and was working full-time on creating with wire.
My work today is created using Argentium sterling silver and 14 karat gold-fill wire that I weave, braid, and form entirely by hand. Several of the techniques used are derived from textile or historical processes. One technique, commonly known as “Viking knitting,” is a 1200 year-old method of weaving fine wire around a mandrel to create interconnected loops, similar to knitted fabric. The wire is worked by hand, making loops around other loops with one long piece of wire at a time. I have adapted the basic process to incorporate gemstone beads, and have also developed a way of working the technique flat. Another technique I use is based on the “soumak weave,” a method still in use to weave Persian rugs. I also use classic braiding patterns, usually worked with fiber, to braid silver and gold wire. Thematically, I continue to explore the spiral, which shows up frequently in my work.