Outside of work, you will often find me hiking, biking, spending time with friends and family (including our cat, Abby), gardening, enjoying rock climbing and motorcycling on a sunny day with my hubby, or on our front porch with an IPA in hand! We are located in central Pennsylvania, but I was born and raised in MI and will always consider myself a Michigander at heart!
The process of making hardwood jewelry...
Using pencil and paper is my favorite way to design jewelry. Although I appreciate the power of technology and require it for my work, my personal feeling is that designing using pencil and paper provides a more natural and free perspective. When designing jewelry I aim to incorporate a diverse range of styles and interests that lend to unique yet elegant individualism and self-expression. I especially love combining opposites such as sharp confident edges with soft curves into a single design. I find inspiration from many things, but most often I find my design inspiration through conceptual patterns with movement and meaning often found in nature and abstract art.
After designing, it's time to prep the wood and cut! I get most of my wood from Ocooch Hardwoods in Wisconsin. Cherry, Maple, and Padauk are the primary species I use for jewelry, but have experimented with at least sixteen additional tree species including Bloodwood which was a particular favorite since it smells like roasted coconut when burned! The wood species I use must have the perfect combination of uniform strength, density, hardness, and natural beauty. I do a “break test” on each new jewelry design to ensure strength and integrity.
I love my K40 laser cutter (Thank you, Ted (my brother)!)! This particular machine was not an "open it up and turn it on" machine and I only recommend it to those who are interested in learning about laser cutters and are up to the task of fixing several problems since these cutters usually never arrive in working condition. It took a few months of research, fixes, modifications, upgrades, cooling system development, and help from online groups and local experts to start making jewelry! Thank you to Matt at The Make Space in State College for all of your knowledge and advice and Paul R. for your help in diagnosing my axis issue! I continue to explore upgrades and modifications to optimize the cutter for making jewelry.
When all is ready to go I use two different software programs to translate my designs into a language that the laser cutter understands, throw on some protective eyewear, and the cutter does the rest!
Jewelry construction and matching stones to designs is one of my favorite parts of this process. I love learning about and experimenting with different stones. There are several stones that are consistently available as options for jewelry, but I always have new, odd, and unusual stones that are either hard to find, have spotty availability, or are a new find that I am learning about which is why I created the "Surprise Me" option when selecting your stone.
Belle Mercantile in Bellefonte, PA 2020
Millheim Walkfest, 2021
Outdoor event in Boalsburg, PA in 2020
Mountain Top and Provisions in Lock Haven, PA for their fall festival