Sandy Johnson, Beads del Sol
I am a recovering corporate staff consultant that happily retired to Placitas in 2002. I had always had fun stringing beads to liven up my boring business suits but began honing my jewelry making skills in earnest once I found myself in such a nurturing artistic community. IT and algorithms gave way to drawing and designing jewelry. I am now a full-fledged metal working jewelry designer who primarily works in silver fabricating necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and chains. I use both precious and semi-precious stones and have the luxury of selecting from literally thousands of pounds of rough that I have cut and shaped for my designs by a master cutter.
I became fascinated by the ability to move and manipulate seemly hard, stiff metal into the shapes I needed to execute my designs. Silver is my favorite metal; it is amazingly mailable and can be coaxed into lovely designs with the cut of a saw, the tap of a hammer or the kiss of a flame. My style is contemporary, my designs are unique. I often use gemstone beads to complete my fabricated pieces in combinations that complement and enhance the overall design. I hand make chain or use ancient bead weaving techniques for the neckpieces if my design begs for that touch. My jewelry most often features pendants made of stones that talk to me. When I go through piles of rough, I immediately see how I wish to have a stone shaped and polished to show its beauty.
The art in my process is to find the design and juxtaposition of the stone to the metal and other stones that conveys what is in my head and on my drawing board. My craft is the persistent goal of making the metal conform. Hurrying no steps to assure it is well made and is expertly polished to produce a vibrant piece of jewelry that will bring pleasure to its wearer.
I came to enjoy the combination of stone and metal only after having made beaded jewelry for decades. The migration from beading designs to metals fabrication came about primarily because I could not always find things to accomplish the piece I had in my head unless I made them myself.
My focus is on contemporary, bold, colorful pieces that are fun to wear and call attention to the wearer.