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[Welcome] New Members for February 7, 2011

Orchid Circulation: 10,500 members!

Please welcome our newest members…

Donnie E Vick
Don’s Design
Elizabeth City, NC. USA

I made my first silver ring in 1973. I finished a degree in Art
Education and Design in 1976. Since, I have balanced a career in
teaching and running my jewelry studio. I take on most jobs that
come to my studio. By doing so I have learned many skills required
for the design and production of jewelry. I will retire from
education soon, and will spend my time doing what I enjoy most,
forging, shaping, joining, and polishing precious metals. I also
enjoy stone setting of all types, wax carving and casting. I intend
to take on students, teaching segments of various jewelry making

Matt Gushee
Englewood, CO. USA

I’m more or less a beginning metalsmith. I have had a passion for
the craft since middle school, but for one or another reason have
just recently got around to doing something about it. So I really
don’t know what I’m doing, but since people seem to like my designs,
I have foolishly decided to go a head and make a business of it
[though I’m not quitting my awful day job just yet ;-)].

Currently I work mainly in sterling silver and copper, with the
occasional semi-precious stone. I’m mainly making earrings and
bracelets, primarily cold-connected but with occasional solder
joints, but am constantly working to improve my technique and expand
my repertoire.

Dallas Meloon
Montage Creations
Surprise, AZ. USA

I started in Jewelry as a stone cutter in 1968 while still in High
School. I grew up in an area without much in the way of
apprenticeship programs or educational opportunities in the arts
(Appalachia). Went on to apprentice under a Swiss master from 1975
to 1977, then into jewelry sales and management of the repair

I have since progressed in lapidary arts to a premier faceter and
custom jeweler. Some of my work may be seen at

Carol K Oshinsky
Potomac, MD. USA

Independent art jeweler - very part time.

Jane McIlleron
Cape Town, South Africa

I am a jeweller working from my home. I will soon have a website,
and I have copied the introduction I wrote for that. I would like to
resume drawing and painting regularly, and also to do some
printmaking, and to find some way to combine it with my jewellery.

People often tell me that my jewellery is reminiscent of the sea, or
sea creatures, or at least of organic things. Though I don’t often
make figurative pieces, or even deliberately start with a specific
source in mind, a lot of my work is inspired by the natural world -
fish, leaves, wings, insects, birds. Before starting to make
jewellery I did a B.Sc. at The University of the Witwatersrand, with
a particular interest in marine biology, but the extraordinary
beauty in the world and the need to make images and objects steered
me away from a career in science. In addition to plants and animals I
love landscapes, seas, rivers and skies. In particular I am
fascinated by the interaction of light and shadow, translucency,
transparency and reflection. I love the way moving water creates
ever changing patterns with light, and the way fish flash bright
then disappear, materialise in shadowy insubstantiality, are for an
instant suspended in detailed clarity, then dissolve into ripple
shadows. I love the way dawn and dusk light make the sky luminous
and deep; the layers of clouds lit by the changing colours as they
drift in their separate currents of air.

I love the quiet complexity, the layered patterning integral to the
structure of natural things.

My other enduring interest is art, in its widest and most inclusive
sense; a way of seeing or a way of thinking; strange, beautiful,
disturbing, evocative but (almost by definition) never meaningless
(although the meaning may be as nebulous as a fleeting emotion).

Anthropologists tell us that amongst the first things made by humans
were weapons and jewellery. I think that jewellery has to do with
expressing and developing a sense of identity. This need for
identity is essential to humanity, as is the sense of belonging to
various group identities ( for example a couple, a family, a tribe,
a religion, a community or a philosophy). These overlap and
intersect in a way unique to each individual.

To a large extent, our concept of self has to be constructed, more
or less consciously, continuously as we grow, learn and change. The
things we wear and surround ourselves with can be tools in this
process of development and expression. Tattoos, scarification and
body painting are born of similar needs.

In the case of talismans and amulets, jewellery gave some sense of
influence over fate. Some symbols were used to ward off evil,
others, such as cowries, were believed to enhance fertility. These
talismanic functions still apply to lucky charms, and some gems are
believed to have specific therapeutic properties. As in dreams, some
symbols are attributed a similar meaning by large groups of people,
others are uniquely personal.

I try to make jewellery that is beautiful, wearable, fun; but most
importantly, that retains some of the significance that was its
original function - jewellery that is meaningful to its wearer in a
private sense, and in his or her relation to those around them.