Before attending North Bennet Street School, I completed a degree in Psychology and spent some years after that in Consumer Research for Pepsi. It was a job I liked, but not one I was passionate about. I had taken a weekly evening class in silversmithing after work, and spent every spare moment I had working with metal. I gave up my job with Pepsi to enroll in the 2-year Jewelry Making program at NBSS and pursue a career that I knew I would love.
What was the best part of your education?
The wonderful teachers are NBSS are what makes it such a special place. My tutors set such high standards for me to follow, still today it keeps me from producing anything but my best work.
There is huge satisfaction in making beautiful objects. It engages our intellect, our intuition and emotion, and it fuels a child-like imagination and exuberance that might otherwise be lost. Fabricating a piece to exacting standards leads to an inner contentment and happiness that I’d never experienced at work before. As one of my clients said to me – it’s food for the soul. Thanks to the high standards of my jewelry instructors at NBSS, I began to understand just how deeply satisfying and meaningful a career in craftsmanship could be, and I’m extremely grateful to them for a career which I find so deeply rewarding.
What are you up to now?
I work on commission making pieces for clients from all over the world. As well as the time honored hand skills I learned at NBSS, I use CAD, (computer aided design) to design my pieces. This allows my clients to have a virtual model of the piece before it is made, so they know exactly how a piece will look. I live and work on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, but most of my clients are in the US.
Until I started my own business, I hadn’t fully appreciated the joy that my work would bring to those who own it. Often my client’s stories are represented in the pieces I make for them, so they have an instant emotional connection to the finished work – to the point where they are moved to tears! It’s enormously rewarding to be a part of that – so much more gratifying than telling Pepsi how to put more fizz in their soda!
Can you describe your work in just three words?
Meaningful, exacting, honest.
Where do you get inspiration?
My client’s stories.
Favorite tool or machine?
A small burnisher that one of my students, Colleen, gave me. I taught at NBSS before moving to Australia, she gave it to me when I left and I use it often. It reminds me of NBSS and the special people I met there.