The Closure of Another Year


The End of 2017

A Quiet Bench

Here I am on the last day of 2017 and I'm reflecting on what worked for the year and what didn't... Well, unfortunately, a lot of things didn't work for the "Queen Bee" this year, but all is not lost!

I had a student ask me recently, "How do you stay motivated?" I had to think about it for a few seconds before I answered because my first impulse was to say, "I have no motivation." But, that would not have been a true statement.

Honestly, what motivates me to come down to the studio every day is the fact I CAN'T NOT come down here and work (yes, my grammar bells are ringing very loudly at the moment).

There are days, a lot of them, where I feel like I have accomplished absolutely nothing and then there are days where I feel like I've done a lot of things only to realize I just pushed gems, silver and drawings around on the bench. So, I decided the best way to "see" what I have done in 2017 is to look at my photo album (iPhoto of course) and see what the old Mac says I've done for the year. I decided to just pick three highlights because not everything is a milestone.


  • Made a giant gold and diamond ring - and cut myself pretty good doing it!
  • Made a really great skull ring for a dear friend
  • Adopted an alley cat


  • Donated a handmade star of life pendant to Lincoln County EMS for their EMS Days event
  • Made several Valentine's Day gifts that were a complete surprise to their recipients
  • Took a few nice, long solo rides on Sunshine to break away from running the shop


  • Started designing a special scroll pattern for the Heritage Softail pipe engravings
  • Prepared to give my Midpoint presentation for my MFA degree


  • Started engraving the Heritage Softail from fishtail to engine
  • Presented my Midpoint proposal and passed to start my thesis work
  • Adopted a 6 week old puppy - Mikka!


  • Made friends between the adopted puppy and the adopted alley cat - lost a lot of sleep at night to 3am potty needs
  • Cast my first rattlesnake vertebrae and cougar claw
  • Continued engraving on the Heritage Softail


  • Mikka had her first swimming pool excursion and didn't like it at all and Bailey, the original baby still not quite happy about having a little sister
  • Mikka lost her first baby puppy tooth
  • Finished the Heritage Softail engraving (200 hours later)


  • Designed and fabricated a new gold and diamond ring - a biggie too!
  • Continued to play mediator between Mikka and Bailey
  • Packed and moved the studio from the storefront to a private studio again


  • Serious Harry Potter scar from unpacking and moving benches and tools into the private studio
  • Observed the eclipse with family and great friends
  • Began teaching students again in the new studio


  • Back in school to start my MFA thesis work
  • Was commissioned and finished a very heartfelt wedding gift by a future groom - he got 1,000,000 hubby points, I'm sure
  • Several new students began their journey with me into the abyss called jewelry


  • Finished a commissioned "friendship ring" for a new customer
  • Thesis work is hard
  • Took on a few new jobs from colleagues


  • Thesis work is hard
  • Visited the Mint Museum's art jewelry exhibition with a new friend/student
  • Wrote a proposal for a "call for entry" to SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths)


  • Designed and completed several custom commissions for three wonderfully different heartfelt Christmas gifts
  • Visited the Mint Museum's art jewelry exhibition again with another new friend/student
  • Closed out the semester with an "A-" and an "A"

So, all in all, the year had its moments. I was seriously absent from blogging, but I am planning a big return for 2018. (Yes, thesis work is HARD!)

Here are the things I am most grateful for:

  1. Having a husband and family who understands this NEED to make things in the basement.
  2. Having a scholastic mentor who has made a serious impact on how I view my work as well as how I approach designing and fabricating on my bench.
  3. Having a studio assistant - Jaycie - who helps me get these pics and videos even though I haven't done anything with them yet!
  4. Yes, thesis work is hard.
  5. New friends and future jewelers who have made an impact on how I view myself as a teacher and as a resource for this profession.
  6. Having the physical ability to come to the studio every day and make some... things.
  7. Of course, the furry kids that keep me on my toes when I think I just need a break from the studio!