I never intended for making bronze jewelry to be anything more than a summer job. In 1975, I was eighteen years old and about to move to Catalina Island with my boyfriend, Andy. He had recruited about ten friends from Aspen, where we all lived the winters, to move that summer and work at a restaurant in Avalon. I agreed to help start the bronze jewelry shop that our friend, John, was going to open and was learning to weld bronze even before we got to Catalina. When we opened the shop, I loved working with the torch and, over the summer, got good enough to sell my work. The restaurant didn't pan out for Andy and he joined John and I in the shop.
At the end of summer, Andy and I moved to San Francisco, got married, and he started a real job working for his father's window shutter installing business. That year his father's business fell into hard times. We purchased welding and polishing equipment, with money we'd received as wedding gifts, and rescued ourselves financially. We sold our bronze jewelry to galleries and gift shops for two years.
We then moved to Chicago to try again to start careers in 'real' jobs. Andy traded options on the newly opened Midwest Options Exchange and I got a job as a runner/messenger at The Chicago Board Options Exchange. This experiment failed and, once again, making and selling bronze jewelry bailed us out.
We returned to Aspen and worked as ski instructors during the day and in a ski shop at night. Not earning much at these jobs inspired a revolution in our minds and we thought, "Very well then, we shall NOT have conventional jobs and will pursue selling our art work." We agreed about this wholeheartedly and went into production, honing our craft, and discovering our art. We entered all kinds of art shows and found out what worked best for us. We bought a camper and pickup truck to live and travel in and had our first successful season of shows in 1977. We loved our art show career. We met wonderful, like-minded, friends and raised and homeschooled our children all while making bronze jewelry and traveling to art shows. I can't imagine a better life for us during that time, 1977 - 2000.