Growing up in a small farming town my Dad owned an old grain elevator where there were many heavy iron gears and fly wheels used to run antique machinery. It was fascinating to see these huge rusty gears suspended high above the floor. 3 stories above on one long shaft, belts and pulleys moving with the turning of these oversized wheels. Each summer we would walk about the elevator property taking inventory. Strange farm machines long idol and every shape of odd metal part were counted and listed. Sounds crazy but I think this fueled my imagination and love of metal parts and pieces.
In contrast my Mom loved costume jewelry of the 60's and 70's. She had three drawers full, each piece laid out meticulously on small towels. As a kid I was allowed to carefully handle each precious piece. In reality this jewelry was a collection of rhinestones, flashy cut glass masquerading as diamonds. These drawers held treasure to me. Once a piece was put on, I was transformed, another person of sorts. Maybe that is where the term "costume jewelry" originated. I still love costumes.
Always happy when I am making things it was apparent that I would pursue an art degree. Metals and jewelry was a natural fit and I graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, MO, now Missouri State University. My parents suggested a teaching degree for self sufficiency and so I have one of those too. I worked in the retail and wholesale jewelry trade gaining practical bench skills before starting my own small studio in a glorified closet. With a growing family we relocated to a small acreage in the woods where we built a spacious studio that I still work in today.