Before I started making jewelry, I had no idea that "regular" people could make jewelry. Then one of my friends gave me an adorable pair of earrings (which I still have, you can see them in the photo at left). When I asked where she got them, she said she had made them. The rest is history. I discovered the magic of beads, and started to frequent bead stores everywhere I went. Then I discovered that they made beads from the very stones that I used to collect from rock shops. My inner rockhound was thrilled. Small containers of beads became larger and piles began to form. I forgot about previous hobbies like hiking and reading. I took a class on how to make beaded necklaces and bracelets. Making jewelry became the way I relaxed after a long day at work. I was always designing jewelry in my head no matter what I was doing or where I was.
Then I saw someone take a hammer to a piece of copper wire. From that minute on, I was a metalsmith. I fell in love with hammered metal and started making components for my beaded pieces. I took a class to learn how to use a torch and fuse fine silver wire. Soon that little torch wasn't big enough, and I wanted to start making more complicated metal designs. Along the way, I had met some other bead and metal addicts online, and a "jewelry retreat" was organized where we shared our skills with each other. I learned to solder at that retreat, and I even made a handmade loop in loop chain for my very first soldered pendant. When I got home I kept practicing, and I will never forget the joy I felt when I looked at my first bezel set ring. I still get a thrill every single time I make a new piece of jewelry from nothing but a piece of sheet metal or wire and a torch. That last step of setting a special stone after working hard on a complicated setting never gets old, either. Making jewelry is truly a labor of love for me, and the techniques and skills learned as the years go by are a journey to be savored.