The studio is located near Wintergreen Mountain Resort in Nellysford, Virginia. This homegrown business of family and friends currently resides in the Rockfish Valley Community Center, a thriving community of artists, musicians, farmers, healing practitioners and social activists. While ‘The Biz’ has seen robust days in the last 25 years with many changing faces and voices, 2014 will be dedicated to solo reflection and study.
Expression through art and craft has been a lifelong companion for me. The images and themes of these designs tell a personal, yet universal story. The work with symbols began about 30 years ago at a time of extreme upheaval. I changed from making art that was functional to art that was very personal and symbolic. The new work, with symbols and figurative images, gave me comfort, strength and insight. As my life continued to challenge me, symbolic art became a path or practice. When I design I am looking for the simplest, most direct lines I can find to express my emotion or concept. A symbol contains a story in one image. It is a bit of a process to boil it down (not this, not this) but in the end it is always so simple and there is the ‘aha’ moment when it sings.
The Art Form
While working with flute maker, Patrick Olwell , I discovered the process of lost wax casting. Just as Patrick made silver keys for his Renaissance flutes first out of wax, I learned to carve wax into the designs I had previously been carving in wood. There are probably around 50 hand carved pieces of wood with inlays (rosewood, boxwood, cherry) bopping around the world that are the beginnings of this jewelry collection of near 100 designs. After wax carving, crafting the metal becomes the art form, filing, grinding and polishing the details. Once the master is perfected, a mold is created and the piece is put into production. Then I sit down to write a card for the piece, naming it and telling it’s story in a poem or as few words as possible.
I was born and raised in Virginia and reside there in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The soft green hills and fresh mountain rivers of Nelson County have provided a comforting and nourishing place to raise my three children and build community. Family, deep friendships and an array of teachers have been a steady source of inspiration. Their outpouring of talent, courage, and wisdom has profoundly affected my work.
Some pieces, such as Aphrodite, Shakti and Changer are visionary, that is, I see them in my mind first. They work as affirmations or visualizations, usually qualities I want more of in my life. Others, like Raven, Cerridwen and Vrksasana are attempts to capture an essence that amazes me in people I know and love. The pendant designs come from a tendency towards simplicity and non representational art and noticing the diversity and similarities of spirit amongst humans. Also, the effects of creating, giving and wearing symbolic objects close to the heart, fascinate me. All cultures surround themselves with symbols, which contain stories, and naturally pass them reverently from generation to generation. Universal symbols lift up and guide us through life’s interwoven cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth.