I have always loved jewelry, especially antique jewelry. Images of the ancients, their deities, and the fabulous jewels they wore delight me. I’ve lost hours looking at photographs of jewels worn by royalty over the ages. But I hadn’t thought of making jewelry.
You never know when a day is coming that will forever change the direction of your life.
It was late November, 2009. I’d gotten a new necklace, and it didn’t hang right. I went to the local “bead store” and asked the owner if she could show me how to fix it.
The tiny tools felt so natural in my hands. What had once been a necklace became a pile of little stones and then a necklace again. Then it became a pile of stones again, because I decided to redesign the whole thing. I felt as if I should have been doing this my whole life.
That night I came home and told my husband that I was going to become a “jewelry maker”. My tiny tools and little stones took over the dining room table, and for the next four years, we could only have meals that you could eat out of a bowl while sitting on the couch.
Stringing only lasted a week or two, but it led to my love of metal and wire. I made a pair of ear wires and realized there was no end to the shapes and possibilities with the medium. I stopped buying chain and started making my own. I decided I would make all the components myself - bails, clasps, every link. At the same time, I started learning more about semi- precious stones. For some years now, I have been buying my stones only in person and from a very few trustworthy sources.
I am so happy now to have a space to work in, and we can eat off of plates again.
I strive to create pieces with a sense of timelessness. I’m still inspired by the characters of operas, history, and mythology. Perhaps that’s who I’m really making the jewelry for. I hope it speaks to the heroines and goddesses in us all.
Crislyn V'Soske Baughman is a Registered Nurse. She is honored to have been caring for Hospice patients and their families since 2003. She has a BA in Theater from Columbia College Chicago. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and cats.