I have “retired” from several careers, I spent 18 years as a marketing professional working for an international business communications company until I” retired” to go to graduate school for a master’s in clinical psychology. Then 15 years in the mental health field before I “retired” again in 2009. After a 6 month break volunteering in Nicaragua teaching English to special needs and college students, I returned to Boone and became an Adjunct English Professor, teaching Business Communications to students at the Walker School of Business at Appalachian State University. Three years later, I “retired” again. Enter my retirement career....
Having always had a passion for jewelry, I selected it as the main souvenir of the many places I traveled. When I discovered a lapidary school in Georgia that taught jewelry- making almost year-round, I immediately signed up to take my first class and was hooked. Since then I have spent one to two weeks a summer for seven summers taking classes at William Holland School of Lapidary, which the students affectionately refer to as “Summer Camp for Adults.” The classes have been primarily in silver and wire-wrapping techniques, however, the last class I took was called Cold Connections and focused on working in copper and utilizing distinctive construction and assembly techniques. The pieces in the Blue Ridge Artisan Center showcase both styles.
My jewelry has been featured in a variety of consignment shops including the Watauga County Arts Council, Ashe County Arts Council and the Abingdon Arts Depot as well as a variety of arts and crafts shows, such as Art on the Mountain in West Jefferson, the Festival of the Frescoes in Glendale Springs, and Beech Mountain Crafts on the Green in Banner Elk. Awards include: First place in the Western Watauga Sliver Heritage Arts Competition in 2013 and 2015 and most recently a 2018 North Carolina Regional Artist Project Grant to support my development as a jewelry artist. The grant has helpful in funding the creation of several pieces that were juried into the Blue Ridge Artisan Guild.
Artistic Vision and Theme for the Gallery Show
My philosophy of jewelry-making is captured in the following quote: “A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever” (Keats). It is a joy to create a piece of jewelry, a joy to have another person appreciate the work and hopefully, a joy for the purchaser to wear it and receive compliments.
My subjects and styles are, quite frankly, all over the map --eclectic might be a better word. My pieces may incorporate beads, crystals, glass, metal, gemstones, ceramics, feathers, chains, ribbons, suede, charms, cubic zirconia, shells, pearls, rocks, arrow heads and in one case, melted marbles. I get inspiration from everywhere: nature, gem shows, fashion catalogs, store displays, art galleries, the other artists in our jewelry guild, dreams and so on. I am constantly on the lookout for new designs and ideas. Subjects can range from a classic cameo broach to art deco glass leaves to steam punk brass keys.
Francine currently lives in a lovely mountain-top home in North Carolina that she shares with four cats.