How I Got Started in Jewelry

I picked up my first pair of jeweler's pliers between my freshman and sophomore years of college, when I took a job at a costume jewelry store run by a cranky old lady who tried very hard not to teach me how to make any jewelry. Somehow I managed to learn to do some basic repairs, string beads, and knot pearls. My folks then bought me a green tackle box in which to carry my half dozen hand tools and growing bead collection back to college. My first "jewelry show" was in 1988 in the lobby of my dorm, where I hung earrings all around the top edges of the lamp shades. I made almost a thousand dollars that night. I was hooked. Eventually I took a basic metalsmithing class. Then another. And another. I say of myself that I am semi-self taught because my skills have not come from formal jewelry training nor apprenticeship, rather from workshops, one-on-one tutorials, and years of willingness to torture a little metal in pursuit of technique.

My Work Today

My long running affair with the surface of metal has spanned twenty three years and counting. I have mastered and adapted numerous techniques that appear in my three distinct lines of handmade silver and gold jewelry: The Pitted Surface, Wear & Tear, and Tortured Hearts.

The Pitted Surface line is a complete collection of earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, cufflinks, and jewelry for men. The surfaces are highly polished with stamped and chased designs indelibly etched, hammered, and pounded, and engraved into the surface of the metal. The pitted surface represents the culmination of life’s effect: every person we meet and any experience we encounter leaves an impression, a mark.

My Wear & Tear collection features silver jewelry with techniques such as reticulation, patina and oxidation, scattered with gold accents. The look is dark, edgy, and features a recurring primal shield motif. Just try to shield yourself from the wear and tear of life. I dare you.

Tortured Hearts is a line of heart pendant necklaces that reflect the condition of most of the hearts I know: broken, tattered, torn, beaten up, full of holes, patched, stitched, riveted, sewn back together, set on fire, and still incredibly beautiful and full of sparkle. Let's face it: if you've lived, loved, or lost very much at all your heart has some marks to show for it.


The Tortured Heart Studio
Where we lovingly beat the hell out of a lot of good metal