In 2009, I moved my small home studio to the heart of downtown Salem, Oregon and opened Calusa Studio – my place to teach, design and create my artisan jewelry. Calusa (pronounced ‘ka-loosa’) comes from my children’s names—Callie, Luke & Sam.
My jewelry designs incorporate a lot of flowers, leaves and vining stems. I love Art Nouveau style; the sinuous lines, the organic designs and natural feel that I use in my jewelry is very typical of that style. Although I do work with gold and faceted stones, most of my work is in sterling silver and often features set cabochons. I mainly use traditional metal-working and silversmith techniques in my art; I enjoy pushing and pulling metal with hammers and I have started exploring metal etching and heat patina techniques on copper and bronze. I have always loved the precision and planning involved when I create pieces with my torch and sheets of metal, but recently I discovered the joy of fold-forming and creating natural, organic feeling pieces that are much more spontaneous.
Largely self-taught, I take workshops and classes to learn new techniques and improve my skills. For me, experimenting without fear of failure and pushing myself beyond my limits continues to bring my art to a new level.