I have always loved books.... I read the encyclopedias for fun. Seriously there wasn't enough books for my hungry mind to consume. I remember searching the stacks in the local library searching for the "coolest" periodical. Lapidary Journal my favorite. It helped that my mother was an artistic woman versed in many fields. I worked the craft/art fair circuit for many years. I would wander the shows and farmers markets and always find myself drooling over the "rock guys" table. Oh and then there was my love affair with museums and those 17th century anamorphic jewelry pieces made with gold, enamel and baroque pearls... sigh history, art, oh and textiles, and the master works of Alphonse Mucha, etc. they all stir my heart! Now I draw inspiration from the past iconography to give today's generations their own "momento mori" or "ex voto". The ability to do this with philanthropy at our core. We support small mining co-ops in Kenya, and local charities that bring awareness to human rights abuses.
I come from a long line of "starving artists" one of the biggest influences happens to be my maternal grandfather. With a camera always in hand, or a watercolor palette, or some project or story .... he was the epitome of a self made man. He taught me to learn about all the aspects of things rather than the surface appearance. If I wanted to be interested in fashion, learn about silkworms and weaving, etc One moment serves as a particularly inspirational piece. We were always playing cards, eucher or cribbage to be exact. One time we were playing silently and quickly, I asked him about his wedding ring .... He told me about how he met grandma, and how he was poor and wanted to wait to have enough money before they wed. Then he heard there was another suitor. All he had was not enough to buy a ring .... but .... he had two silver coins, and a nail, and a hammer. He set to work and pierced the coin with the nail. then he hammered the impaled coins edge rotating it until it became a flat band. Then he took the band and carved a greek key pattern into it. He show my grandmother the rings made with such love and won her heart .... 8 children, 36 grandchildren, and 20+ great grandbabies later ... He inspires me to make great things with what you have at hand.
RAW is a huge platform for artists to not only connect to potential clients but venues .. it give those of us who don't have the traditional "connections" necessary to be found/discovered. It gives us a voice and hope that we can be the next big thing!
I am an artist dedicated to social responsibility with in my craft. We bring gemstones directly from small scale mining operations in Kenya to use in our jewelry. We also provide additional funds for emergency medical aide, equipment & provision upgrades, as well as buying the entier mine out put not just the facet grade gems (facet grade is frequently only a handful of gems per 30 kilo/30,000cts.) The ability to be a positive change, to bring hope and prosperity to those that need it .. for me that's everything!