How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined in January 2015. I wanted to be able to show my jewelry without having to do shows. I wasn't able to set up for the shows anymore and thought this would be a good way to showcase my jewelry.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the Portland area. I lived in San Jose, CA for about nine years and then moved back to Portland. I also lived in Seattle for a year after I got married.
What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
I have worked as a billing clerk, also in a one-girl office as a secretary. I worked for the City of San Jose in the records department in Public Works. I then decided that I wanted to do something different and trained as a nursing assistant at Stanford University Hospital and worked there from 1969 to 1971. I moved back to Portland after a trip across the country for two months. I worked at Good Samaritan Hospital for a couple of years. I got married and after having two children I went back to school at the age of 40 and became a RN. As an RN I worked in hospitals, at a state prison in Portland until I had back surgery, then as a trainer in a Nursing Home, and lastly I worked with the developmentally disabled. My nursing career was varied and very enjoyable. I retired in 2007.
What led you to making jewelry?
I have been interested in learning how to make jewelry for many years. In 2009 I took the plunge and enrolled in Mt. Hood Community College in metalsmithing and jewelry making and the rest is history.
How would you describe your style in three words?
Organic, unique and wire wrapping
What types of materials do you like to work with and why?
I work mostly with copper and brass or bronze. I like the looks of these metals and they fit my organic style. I also work with some silver and my wire wrapping is mostly done with Argentium silver because of its slow tarnishing to non-tarnishing quality. I use sterling for the chains on my expensive pendants and some pendants that are lower in price are base metal or stainless steel chains. I also have made roosters out of copper and then painted them with alcohol ink. Some hang on the wall and some are to put in a house plant.
What do you love about making jewelry?
I love creating something that is unique and that no one else would have. I love one-of-a-kind pieces. I also like to create pieces using the torch.
What frustrates you about making jewelry?
Soldering is my least favorite and most frustrating thing that I do.
What inspires you?
Sometimes other people, things I see in nature or in magazines and sometimes the stones that I see and then see what I can do with them.
What do you like to do when you aren’t creating jewelry?
I love to travel, play dominoes with a group of friends, keep in touch with old friends, target shooting.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill what would it be?
I would love to be able to draw and paint.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I am finally a grandmother to an amazing little boy who is four months old. I just bought a new Kia Soul and love driving it.
Stop by Artistic Portland any day of the week 10 am - 6 pm (noon-5 pm on Sundays) to see and purchase Barbara's work in person!