Joan's Background

I have always looked for the creative path. I remember as a young girl carving my initials into my parents headboard (no applause for that one), being kidded for mixing odd spices, infusing new life into organizations with entrepreneurial left turns, and sometimes just thinking on a different plane. I have manipulated words, paints, plants, fiber, glass, beads, and metal. This “art in my heart” keeps tickling me at odd times to mix the ordinary with the odd.

Since 2000 I have worked with stones, fabric and glass to create unusual jewelry, ultimately discovering my love of metal. Torn between hard and soft, I combine silver smithing with kumihimo braiding and wire weaving to invent the unexpected. I love contrast in form and similarity in color. I dream of new designs, smiling in my sleep.

Who am I? Where am I from? What have I done? Born in St. Louis and raised in waterfront Fairhope, Alabama, my 43-year career as an administrator in colleges and universities scooted me around the country—Tuscaloosa, Erie, DC, Davenport, and Stevens Point, WI.

A basket full of degrees (BS, MS, Ph.D.) attests to my love of being a student. I have learned about art, form and metal from masters across the country and annually seek out teachers who unlock new mysteries. Learning new things keeps one humble.

I moved to the Stevens Point area in 1985 when I became Dean of the College of Professional Studies at UW-Stevens Point, the greatest job of my life. Retiring in 2010.

Bringing something new and beautiful into the world makes my brain sing. Perhaps it is similar to a runner’s high. The new piece brings me into a state of wonder, bordering on love. I made that? Each and every time I look at one of my creations, the surge of pleasure returns. Even when I see one of my pieces years later, the emotional connection returns and I find myself touching a woman’s neck to reconnect with my piece. Pretty embarrassing, but she knows. I am grateful for this urge to create. I am grateful that there are people who share my love of these things that spring out of me. I am now a full time, award winning silversmith trying to make a business out of this bubbling passion.

When I can loosen the tie that binds me to the studio, I play tennis with giddy abandon, deal bridge with my laughing friends, read a Kindle while adding up the miles on my treadmill, bask in a well chosen word that pops up, and waive an eco flag over all I do.

I appreciate my customers whose admiration makes me blush.