I was raised in the Appalachian mountains of Northern Georgia on a self sustaining farm which had been in my family since 1863. My Great Grandmother and Grandmother were strong Quaker women who worked the farm during the day and believed in re-purposing everything. Our hand stitched clothing was made from flour sacks provided by the local grist mill and clothing oftentimes were made into quilts and blankets to keep us warm in the winter. It was a simple life, with no indoor plumbing or electricity.
Blackberry Designs Jewelry was named for the wild blackberries that grew in my beloved Georgia mountains and the half-moon pies my Great Grandmother would make in her cast iron skillet on a wood burning stove, treats to be enjoyed after a day of school.
In my college years I worked for a jewelry company assembling and designing their catalog line while obtaining a degree in Accounting. For the next several years my day job would be as an accountant while my evenings and weekends were spent pursuing different forms of art; painting, sculpting, textiles, ephemera and mixed media art while teaching art and chairing an Art Guild.
Suddenly my life took a turn in 2002 when my beloved father became ill. Within 3 months he was passing away and I recall my last conversation with him on a stormy night in October 2002, where he told me to leave the accounting field and pursue my art. He said he loved me and "that I was a star and I would shine", I never spoke to him again since he passed away 3 days later. You will see stars throughout my designs to honor my father.
After the passing of my father I collected things he had given me, one was charms from his travels with the airlines. I created a charm bracelet with images of my father and my silver charms. Never knowing that my business would be born from this bracelet. Friends saw my bracelet and my business started in 2002, from great tragedy came a passion for personalized jewelry design. Listening to my father, by 2004 I had left Corporate America behind to pursue my jewelry and art full time.
It was important to me that the jewelry I created for my customers would have the same sustainability that I had grown up with and be engineered for comfort and design. The jewelry must never turn color or tarnish and would be cherished for their lifetime to be handed down to their friends and family. After several years of working in sterling silver and gold, being unhappy with the price point, I explored and tested many different metals coming across a stainless steel manufacturer of men's jewelry. I knew this was the answer to creating quality jewelry for women. Stainless steel has the beauty of vintage sterling silver and platinum with far more durability, and I fell in love with stainless steel and it became my passion to learn everything I could about this amazing metal and applications in jewelry design.
The fashion of the 1940's and 1950's has always been a passion of mine. I collected many vintage pieces from that era and had some of the basic chains and components reproduced in stainless steel which you will see used throughout the Blackberry Designs line.
Sixteen years later and my passion for jewelry design has not slowed down. I have books and books of sketches and designs that I will never complete in my lifetime.
In the meantime, I wish you well on your Journey.