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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jessica Dow of Different Seasons Jewelry


For the Complete Interview with Jessica see my Jewelry and Gem Artisans Blog at:
http://jewelrygemartisans.blogspot.com/


Jessica Dow with
Different Seasons Jewelry

http://differentseasonsjewelry.com/

If you have picked up the new ArtJewelry magazine you will see there is a new type of feature – the cover pendant accounts for three different techniques and step by step instructions in this issue! This is a great idea as it allows the issue to cover more beginning techniques like bezels while also offering the advanced artists a tutorial on engraving!

The featured artist(s) are Different Seasons Jewelry better known as Jessica Dow and Mark Anderson!!

I have known Jessica for a couple years now and in that time I seen her go from an insecure talent to a confident artist that, through her new partnership, will be a force to be reckoned with!

What type of training have you had? how did you get your start and the progression that got you where you are today.

I started making jewelry after attending a couple of basic classes taught by Joe Hesselgrave at the Parks and Rec center in Tucson Arizona. After learning the bare bones of soldering I opted out of the class and started working by myself at home. At the time I was a single mother of a special needs child and leaving home to attend classes was difficult. I found some used equipment and tools through Kent's Tools in Tucson. I also bought some books such as The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight and Decorative Techniques for Craftsmen by Oppi Untracht. I believe I spent under $200.00 setting up the entire workshop. I was almost immediately drawn to the art of piercing. I love sketching and piercing allowed me to draw my own templates and bring those drawings to life in metal. Piercing has continued to be my favorite fabrication technique.




A year ago I moved to Wisconsin and joined forces with my fiancé Mark Anderson. Mark has been working with lapidary arts and jewelry design for about 8 years. He is one of the most talented artists I have ever worked with.


I started out doing my own lapidary work - cabbing my own material expanded my design abilities and enabled me to work with gems that were previously out of my price range. I rarely cut cabs anymore. Mark handles that aspect of our business which allows me the benefit of custom cut gems to fit my designs as well as more time to devote towards jewelry. It's hard to do it all yourself... working with Mark and my mother Martha has allowed me to focus on the aspects of jewelry making that I love most. I am currently training with Mark in the art of lost wax casting. I have been carving my first wax models and have been observing Mark during every step of the casting process. We have also gotten the tools and materials needed to begin adding enameling to our jewelry.... we're both very excited to begin experimenting with various enameling techniques! Mark is also teaching me advanced gem setting techniques such as channel setting and flush setting. I am excited to watch my work transform and progress as I learn new techniques. I feel I am merely at the beginning of an exciting journey.



Give the one piece of advice you wish you had gotten as a jewelry artist just starting out.
When learning a technique, take the time to learn it the correct way! Once I started working with Mark I discovered I had developed some bad habits with a couple of techniques. I not only had to learn the technique again the correct way but I also found it took me much longer due to having to break my old bad habits. If you are not in the position to get professional instruction, be sure you're learning from a good book by authors such as Tim McCreight or Oppi Untracht.

I remember your first posts to the Yahoo Groups that we were both on - talk about the journey from fabricating your early designs to the commission work you do today - how did you get your name out?

I had been making jewelry for just over a year when I sent a photo of one of my pierced opal pendants to Lapidary Journal's Jewelry Artists magazine along with the photos I had taken during the fabrication process. I never expected anything to actually come of it.... I had assumed only an experienced jeweler with a solid reputation could get into a magazine the likes of Lapidary Journal. Lapidary Journal had been one of my biggest sources of inspiration when I first started making jewelry & cutting gems. I had dreams of getting my work within its pages someday. I literally nearly fell off my computer chair from shock when I opened up my e-mail and saw a message from one of the magazine's editors. She told me she wanted to print an article with one of my pierced opal pendants! I was thrilled and intimidated at the same time. It ended up being more work than I had anticipated but it was one of the best learning experiences I've had within this business thus far. That first article was just the beginning... since then Mark and I have had four full length step-by-step articles published, two gallery features, our recent cover with Art Jewelry magazine and we have another article coming out sometime this fall or winter.



Our "Sunstone Waves" article in Jewelry Artist was actually more of an assignment than a submission. The magazine had an issue coming out with a focus on Sunstone. We were asked to carve and set a sunstone gem in a sterling silver pendant. Mark did an amazing job with the carving and I designed and fabricated a pendant to compliment the gem carving. It was a fun project.


Follow Jessica on:
DeviantArt -
http://jessa1155.deviantart.com/
MetalChasers -
http://metalchasers.com/Different_Seasons_Jewelry
MySpace -
http://www.myspace.com/jessa1155
Facebook -
http://www.myspace.com/jessa1155
Xanga -
http://www.xanga.com/Jessa1155
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