Artist, Jeweler, Consultant
While visiting the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York, I met Sarah doing an “Artist-in-Residency” program where she was demonstrating her jewelry making technique.
Sarah grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. “I always made jewelry from the time I was a child. I loved beading and digging through my mother’s jewelry boxes.” When I went to college, I wanted to study art but my practical parents said they were not sending me to college to study art. However, while I was at the University of Wisconsin, earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Arts (film and television), I took elective classes for credits in jewelry. I knew I was good at this and I got straight A’s.” I did not know it at the time but the University of Wisconsin is known for their metals program. I was able to learn from one of the best silversmiths in the country, Fred Fenster, a major player in metals.
Being “passionate about Italian culture” with a college minor in Italian, Sarah studied at Lorenzo de Medici, in Florence Italy, taking courses in Italian Film. While in Florence she had an Internship at RAI (Italian TV station), helping to organize old films, which gave her access to the Italian film and TV culture.
“After school I went back to Atlanta and worked at the fashion apparel mart for a showroom selling to high end boutiques all over the South and Southwest. I started a jewelry business and sold my designs (necklaces, earrings, etc.) to boutiques, local craft fairs and trunk shows and did very well.”
“After some success selling my jewelry, I decided to go to the Penland School of Crafts, in North Carolina. I stayed for a year taking short intensive workshops to learn different jewelry making techniques. Because the classes are usually 2 weeks long, they attract a variety of talented teachers coming from all over to teach their workshops. One of the instructors, Myra Mimlitcsch-Gray, suggested I apply to graduate school.”
Sarah applied to seven grad schools before choosing SUNY where she earned her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Metals in 2008. This qualifies her to teach at the university level. “At SUNY I discovered what the focus of my work would be.”
She calls her focus or style as “frozen drawings” (loose gestural ink drawings that she translates into metals.) It is time consuming and labor intensive; but Sarah tries to bring the fresh and spontaneous quality of the drawing to the finished jewelry item.
Since arriving in New York in 2008, Sarah has been doing a lot of different things to make it work. Aside from her “Artist-in-Residency program at MAD, which she has just wrapped up (after 9 months), she has just finished a jewelry design program for the Sheffield School. She did the syllabus design, writing, study guides, research projects, projects, etc. This distance education school launches this summer and is based in NY. Students can earn a program certificate from the State of NY. People from all over the world can sign up for courses to learn how to design jewelry and get materials.
Sarah also has a part time job as a technician at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), helping to maintain the jewelry studio. She fixes things like broken tools and/or equipment and is the Staff Advisor to their Jewelry Club.
Sarah has recently moved into a studio with 3 other artists. She would like to get a production line going doing limited editions (30-40 pieces). Her production pieces are priced from $ 75-$150 and her one of a kind designs go for $350 to $1500.
Sarah says her biggest challenge is coming up with new ideas and seeing them thru to a finished product. However, being creative and having people acknowledge her creativity plus meeting interesting people makes the efforts worthwhile.
The keys to success plus talent is marketing yourself, making contacts, and coming up with new ideas that are unique.
New developments in jewelry are computer program designs, 3-D printing and designers using new alloys of metals.
In her spare time Sarah loves to travel, cook, bike and play tennis.