Growing up among a family of artisans and performers, everyone it seemed could start with an idea, get some materials, and then create a pair of shoes, a table, lace curtains… a home village festival. Using primarily simple tools, no visible limits deterred the possibilities of what they sought to make. At home, Mom always had projects going on at our table to keep the kids busy; candles, decorations, building toys.
Need to plan an event? No problem! Arrange the details, build the displays, get some wine from the barrel that my cousin made by hand. The celebration started with a song and after nightfall we all sat and enjoyed the beautiful
fireworks at the end of the day. In time I began to notice, that we all used metal as part of the process. Its importance stuck with me.
Since the first time I noticed metal, it has been mysterious and fascinating to me. Not only was it useful as a material for tools, vehicles and architecture, but it is wonderful to use in jewelry and decorative objects as well. My 6th grade teacher’s Mexican Tin Mask collection, our visiting museums with liturgical silver smithed vessels... how did they do that? Can I?
The quest began. I learned about math, music and the visual arts; how they can be used in concert together or individually. While studying metal arts I focused on research of ancient and traditional metalworking techniques. Eventually, many various techniques became evident from around the world. These became incorporated into how I think, create my own work and how I teach.
Some information was readily available; others required diligence and persistence to explore. It became clear that even if obstacles seemed to block my path, most often I could seek out ways to learn how to continue. With the blessings of friends, our family’s faith and dedicated mentors, they eventually taught me how to find open doors. It also became clear that it is possible to learn how other doors could be opened.
Daring to dream a bit, seeking to reach beyond my grasp, I found that even dreams could come true. I soon began to see that opportunities often appeared quite regularly. Now, I began to recognize them by looking through a lens of setting my sights on future goals and by opening my mind to any possibility. Eventually, this lead to graduate school, presenting lectures, offering workshops, travel, teaching abroad, museum collections, starting my own studio and a summer program called MAKER in 1999.
I must admit that it has been amazing to me. I know that, if not for God’s
blessings, I would not have made it this far. I humbly believe as a Christian,
that God helps those who at least try to help themselves and that we must
help others as many did for us. I will continue to advocate for arts education,
visual literacy, mindful thinking, setting goals, helping others, looking ahead
and moving forward.
Our spotted gal Olive