I guess it was when our youngest daughter was in art school at OU that I said, “Well, shoot! I might as well go back and get it finished.” And I did end up with an art degree which was wonderful. I started out in visual communications and ended up in printmaking as a degree.
Q: So then how did the jewelry making come into this?
A: Because I’m tuned into horses — I love jewelry, I always wanted silver and turquoise jewelry. After my parents lived on the Navajo reservations for many years, I got very involved with the turquoise and the silver. I’d have to wait for the horse shows to come to town so I could go look for horse jewelry. And I just never found anything I really wanted so I thought, “Well, I’ll just learn to make my own.”
We had an art league in Norman for many years and I was president for some time, and we always met on the second floor of the Firehouse Art Center. And going up to the room I’d walk by the jewelry room and I’d think, “Boy, that looks like a lot of fun!” I think the art league probably disbanded in 1996 or ‘97, something like that. So that jewelry room was always in the back of my mind. When I decided I was going to learn to make jewelry I contacted the Firehouse. I’ve been there ever since.
Q: Tell me what your process is like creating jewelry.
A: I always start with an idea and I draw. I still love to draw so I do a lot of drawing. Then that drawing is transferred to a sheet of silver. It’s what we called “pierced out” — cut out of the silver — and from there you set stones. You texture your metal, just whatever your idea of what you want it to look like when it’s finished.