I have always been involved in art, from childhood on. I remember making watercolor paintings and selling them to all my parents’ friends and relatives when they were visiting–for a quarter each!! In high school, I loved designing my own clothes and shopping for “vintage” jewelry in junk shops and antique stores. I rarely found anything of value, but I loved the hunt.
I studied Textile and Apparel Design in college and loved every bit of it. I learned apparel design, but also fiber arts including weaving, screenprinting, every needlework and lacemaking technique known, and even a couple that are mostly extinct! I was such a good student that I went on and on. Eventually I received a Ph.D. in Textiles and Clothing from Iowa State University and I taught apparel design courses at the college level for seven years.
While in grad school, I needed a creative outlet. I found polymer clay at a time when I had no room for any fiber technique in my life or apartment. It was love at first use. I have been exploring polymer clay for over 20 years. About 10 years ago, I wanted to add more value to my polymer work so I turned to silver. I am a Level 1 Certified instructor for metal clay. I combine fine silver metal clay with polymer to create mixed media jewelry. I sell jewelry to galleries and gift shops across the country.
Sharing faith through my art has become a more important theme for me in the last few years. In2007, I added an inspirational line which incorporates scripture verses and prayers in the silver. I’ve also been painting in the slow times of the year (mostly winter) and have developed a line of prints and cards that combine images of women with bits of scripture.
I’ve written over 30 project articles for jewelry craft magazines and general craft publications. My first book, Polymer Clay Inspirations was published in 2005. In 2010, came Perfectly Paired: Designing Jewelry with Polymer and Metal Clays. I teach polymer and metal clay at events around the country, including the Bead & Button Show. My next book is tentatively titled Designing Polymer Clay Canes and will be available March 2013.
I live on a small “hobby farm” in Ames, Iowa, with a wonderful husband and 3 children, a large garden, sheep, a few chickens, and a “soccer dog” named for Mia Hamm. I love to garden, cook with what I grow and eat well. I still do some fiber work occasionally, including knitting my husband an original design sweater every year for Christmas.