It's been 15 years since I took my first metalsmithing class. I was addicted from the start and converted an old room in my basement into a "studio". What started out as a hobby turned into a career about 5 years ago.
I opened up shop on Etsy in 2010 and it took awhile for me to hit my stride. After a bit of a success with one design, interest grew and I finally had a somewhat steady stream of orders. As sales grew, Janet joined me so I could spend more time in the studio. Now, I couldn't run the business without her.
I believe in giving back. From the beginning, I've made a monthly donation to local dog rescue organization, Our House of Hope K-9 Rescue in Libertyville, Illinois. The woman who runs this is a saint - I only wish that I could do more for her and the dogs she rescues. 100% of what Hot Rox donates goes to paying the medical expenses for the dogs in their care, often enabling them to rescue additional dogs that require a vet's attention. To date, we've raised over $22,000.
My process? Frequently, I look at a stone and immediately envision what I want to do with it. Sometimes I sketch and labor over the details - other times, I wing it. I'm an artist - it depends upon my mood.
I tend to be inspired by what I would like- natural gems, rose cut diamonds, raw diamonds, saturated tourmaline and big coin pearls - bezel set into precious metal. I'm also a fan of funky studs, big hoops and LONNNNGGGG necklaces.
Much of my work combines different metals and incorporates oxidation or black rhodium plating. I think the contrast between colored gold and black is dramatic. Unfortunately, this finish tends to wear off on rings that are worn daily. While I am happy to re- finish your ring any time, free of charge, it is easy to oxidize silver at home. I'm happy to present a video where I show exactly how to do this!