A brief bio
I’ve been making dog, cat, and equestrian sculpture and jewelry for over 50 years. I started out making little clay animals in my grandmother’s pottery studio when I was a child, and I still remember the breathless excitement of opening the kiln on firing days and seeing my work magically transformed.
In the 1980s, we had a craft gallery in the Virginia horse country. It was through some of the member craftspeople that I discovered lost wax casting. To me, metal has all the magic of fired clay. But there’s the added sense of awe that the piece I’ve created could be around thousands of years from now, outlasting not just my short life, but perhaps even our civilization.
A lot of my jewelry is actually small sculpture you can wear. I carve the original designs in wax with hand tools. Then I make molds so that the pieces can be reproduced. Some are cast by the lost wax method. Others are made from metal clay pressed into a handmade mold to get the basic shape, then individually detailed, and fired in a kiln. Recently I’ve started mixing porcelain and other kinds of clay into my designs. And I’m starting to do some of my own casting, thanks to my grown sons (who all seem to think that playing with molten metal is fun. I wonder where they learned that?)
Beyond the thrill of seeing my ideas take a form that will last many human lifetimes, sculpture and jewelry allow me to connect with other people who love their animals as much as I do. And that takes me to places like dog shows and horse shows, where I can be around my favorite creatures and soak up the ambiance of those worlds.
The dog show world has always been part of my life. As a child, I made do with whatever dogs my family and neighbors would let me train or haul off to dog shows. I put obedience titles on the ones with papers, including my grandparents’ Toy Manchester Terrier. I started showing Pointers when I was in college, then bred and showed Pembroke Welsh Corgis for many years. That somehow led to acquiring a couple of Border Collies, then a flock of sheep, and finally a Maremma livestock guardian dog. But when my last corgi died, I decided to have a new adventure. Willa the Irish Water Spaniel is now the love of my life. Then when our quest for a second water spaniel met with some roadblocks last winter, we adopted a rescue Aussie puppy.
So the dogs are getting bigger as we approach retirement age. I’m on my last horse and my last bird, and the cats are getting old. But I have a feeling that I’m not to the end of my dog story. Or my creative story. I’m excited to see the next turn in the road.