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Valerie Wood


I've been making jewelry seriously for about 10 years, although I first began to learn metalsmithing many years ago while I was in college.  It seems like whenever I had the time to learn, I didn't have the money and whenever I had the money, I didn't have the time. And along the way I indulged other hobbies; sewing, knitting, photography, gardening and graduate school.  When my kids were small, I worked full time and tried to keep up with their sports, the housework and things I was interested in, and so learning metalsmithing took a back seat to these things. Then, I bought some beads to string. I got started just **because** - because of the beads .... because of the designs .... because of the metals .... because of the challenge of taking a piece from idea to finished product.  Beading was interesting, but not satisfying enough – I kept longing to get back to metal. So I bought a few tools and some copper, and I was on my way!

It’s exciting, taking a flat piece of metal and turning it into something completely different. I love that you can take something hard and flat, and create something  dimensional  that looks light and airy.  One project gives me ideas for another, and before I've completed one piece, I'm already thinking about the next one and the one after that. I also love the fact that, more often than not, what I start out to make isn’t what I end up making.  Sometimes it’s because I’m stymied by how to put a piece together, but more often it’s that as I see a piece start to come together, I get distracted by, “What happens  if I do this with that piece?”

My favorite inspirations come from nature; I love to make flowers, leaves and things of the outdoors.  I work mostly with silver and copper and I especially like the look of different metals together in the same piece. I'm almost completely self taught, and thoroughly enjoy the process of learning a new technique - even the mistakes can teach a lot! I have recently gotten a 20-ton hydraulic press set up in my studio – I’m having tons of fun learning this new tool and how I can use it to create new items.  I love being in my studio!