Welcome, we hope you enjoy our interview with
When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
I was never really a crafty person. I don’t know how to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, etc., but as far back as I can remember I loved to draw and paint. Learning how to make jewelry was something I’d long been interested in, but that dream didn’t take hold until a friend sent me some charms from the famous Lascaux caves in France. Wanting to do something with them, I took them to my local bead store one day and asked how I could turn them into a charm bracelet. One of the employees showed me how to put a crimp bead on beading wire and I was off to the races.
How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
Painting, since I was a small child; jewelry making since 2006 when those charms from France arrived in the mail.
What are your crafting influences?
Color; I love color and am fascinated with pairing colors that aren’t always thought of as going together. Nature is a huge influence. A field of wildflowers is often a riot of color, yet it’s always beautiful even when the colors are ones people would normally think of as clashing. The majority of my painted pendants feature animals and flowers.
In addition, much of my wire work is influenced by lamps, kitchen utensils and other common household items.
There are no other jewelry makers in my family, but my sister is a talented painter and my mother painted as well as designing her own clothes. Her eye for style, color and form was exceptional.
What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
My work is and has been on display at art galleries and shops in the small town where I live and I’ve been a featured artist in our town’s monthly art walks twice. Online I have an Art Fire studio, JewelryArtByDawn.artfire.com.
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
I enjoy reading, cooking, gardening (although I have kind of a black thumb), spending time with our black lab and traveling with my husband.
Each new piece is my favorite at the time it is being made. I think it has to be so that 100% of my focus is on making it the best work I can possibly create.
Why did you make that piece?
Because at that very moment in time, I had a design idea that had to be seen to completion. Until I finish a piece, I can’t get it out of my head. Even while sleeping, it’ll come to me in a dream.
What does it take to create pieces like that?
Lots and lots of time, patience and attention to the smallest detail.
What is special about your pieces?
Each of my painted pendants is an original and won’t be reproduced. The colors of the painted wood beads that I use in much of my work are an exact match to the pendants which I think really makes the designs flow. Always at the back of my mind is the thought that someday, somewhere, someone will be wearing that piece and I want them to love it as much as I loved creating it. That means in addition to being pleasing to the eye, there are no wonky loops, uneven wraps, kinked wire or potentially sharp ends of wire poking out. If that means re-doing something, it gets re-done which is probably why some of my work takes what seems like forever to finish sometimes!
Creating a new piece allows me to escape from those cares and worries all of us have in our day to day lives. The stress falls away and I can feel myself start to relax the moment I pick up a paint brush or a piece of wire. Just as important is the feeling of satisfaction that comes when holding up a completed work and thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I actually made this with my own two hands!” It’s a very good feeling on many different levels.