I grew up as an only child in the woods of southern Oregon. My parents divorced when I was very young and I did two weeks on and off with each. They were polar opposites when it came to parenting and their lifestyles. My mom lived off the grid and we didn't have running water or electricity. She would always do her best to entertain me - we would build fairy houses, make candles out of my crayons, go fishing, hike, pan for gold, or search for rocks and minerals. My dad on the other hand was a very analytical and mathematical person. He had a career as a computer programmer and would buy the latest technology to keep me entertained. My two weeks with him would usually be more immersed in my room in front of the computer or tv screen. I didn’t know then how much these early days would influence my life later on. Things I used to take for granted back then became the cornerstones of my foundation as an artist.
Let me go back and tell you more of my personal story now. I’m sharing this in hopes you have a better understanding of what makes me me and why I create the things I do now and how I have learned to follow my heart.
In high school my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. He went in for a routine surgery and came out in the ICU and as the closest living relative, at 16 years old they were asking me if I wanted to pull the plug. I completely shut down. He spent the next few years in and out of the ICU, assisted living, and back at home depending on how he was doing that week. We finally were able to create a system with caregivers including myself along with hospice so that he may stay at home.
It was so confusing for me because the more the tumor would affect his brain the more his personality would change. I think there’s nothing harder than watching someone you care about deteriorate before your eyes. I looked for ways to escape into another world through drawing and it became very clear to me then that I wanted to go into a creative field. I just always thought I would be a painter.
Feeling like my life was put on hold while all my friends went off to their dream college to start their lives and careers I chose to stay close to home. Wanting to stay close to my dad and take care of him, I also started by taking a few painting and drawing classes at the local community college. I strived to learn more - more ways to manipulate paint and to get better and had hopes that maybe I would show in galleries one day.
During the last few months of my dad's life, I also had a falling out with my mom. What should have been a small miscommunication led to a huge fight. Any attempt to talk it through after things cooled down did not resolve any conflict. When my dad finally passed away in 2010 I was also not speaking to my mother.
Feeling left alone in the world there was also nothing holding me to my hometown anymore. In a way this released me from the social norms and I was free to create the life I wanted. My dad's passing taught me how short life is, and to never take things for granted. Without anything holding me back I took the opportunity to try to uplift myself into a new life in a new place. I moved to San Francisco to go to the Academy of Art University to finally pursue an artistic career.
I wanted to be a painter and learn all the ways to manipulate paint, to learn different techniques and become one of the greats I had always studied in school. However, being surrounded by other amazing artists I started to doubt myself. Why weren’t my paintings getting into the student showcase? Was I good enough? Maybe I didn’t live and breathe painting as much as I thought I did. I felt on the brink of failure that that wasn't what I was really meant to be. Instead of dropping out of art school I took a semester to try other things. I just had to find my medium. I tried all kinds of different art classes, printmaking, sculpture, photography and even neon before finding my love for working with metal.
As soon as I took my first jewelry class I fell in love. I’ve never been more fascinated with science in my whole life. Metal is just so malleable in the ways you can manipulate it, my analytical brain also felt more stimulated with the greatest puzzle of all. How do you take the ideas out of your head and make them into a functional object someone can wear.
I love the process of making jewelry, soldering and playing with fire, then when I’m finished, having something beautiful to wear and someone to cherish the piece in their collection. For me there’s no greater feeling, but working with hammers and sitting over tiny objects I started to look for ways to counteract how hard it can be on your body. What I took for granted back in Oregon then became the life I desired and missed in San Francisco. I spent every off day driving long hours out of the city to go on a beautiful hike of the same caliber as Oregon. I became fueled by nature and how beautiful our world is. I wanted to put that into the jewelry I was creating. All the rustic textures you see in the bark of trees or the way the waves make patterns in the sand. This was the type of collection I wanted to create.
Graduating with a BFA in Jewelry and metal arts and not wanting to live in a city anymore I discovered a beautiful little artist town, a Pueblo mágico called Todos Santos, Mexico. I fell in love with this little town full of artists, entrepreneurs, expats and tacos. I saw other women with thriving businesses living by the beach drinking margaritas. What started as a vacation here threw me into a bunch of questions of why not? Why couldn’t I be one of those women? Why shouldn’t I move out of the country? I could learn a second language and I’ve always wanted to live by the ocean. So why not this one?
When I couldn't find a valid reason that wasn't driven by fear of the unknown I started to sell everything that didn’t fit into my car and drove down the Baja peninsula. What was supposed to be only summer abroad became the life I was looking for. It started to click, life is what you make of it so why not make the best one possible? Creating an environment that I thrive in has been the biggest journey but also one leading to the most happiness in my life. Some choices in life are hard but this was never one of them. When you follow your heart things fall into place. I say that everything happens exactly the way it was supposed to happen. I think back on all the choices I've made or the bad things that have happened to me and realize it couldn't have happened any differently because then I wouldn't be who I am today.
“It’s interesting to note that the most kind and
courageous souls you meet in life are usually those
Who have faced the most cruelty and conflict.
This vicious world may well sharpen us like a blade,
But weather we use this power to protect others
Or cause pain is always our choice to make.”With great power • Beau Taplin
Going out to start your own business isn’t always the easiest decision but when your soul depends on it you find a way to make it happen. I am to create jewelry that leaves you always feeling your best, art that you can wear, timeless treasures that speak to the hearts of people that love the outdoors as much as I do. To have a taste of nature through rich textures in designs you haven’t seen before. I’ve always said that I would rather be broke and happy doing what I love, over making more money at a job I hate. I can truly say that each piece most importantly is made with love. I thank each and every one of you that has purchased a piece from me because it helps me keep doing what I love most.
Dream big because life is short. Never let anyone else determine your worth. Learn from your mistakes and live life without regrets. You can never be disappointed if you follow your heart.