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Member Profile

DianeBrakeSL

“I have always been involved in a lot of creative endeavors. In college, I spent a lot of time in the pottery studio at CMU and took my first stained glass class there. I have worked with glass for over 40 years and taught classes for Delphi Glass and did a lot of commissioned pieces after graduating from college. Later on, my focus shifted to fused glass.

I volunteer teaching pottery and copper tooling at a local middle school. Currently, I split my time between glass fusing, enameling, and metalsmithing.

I’ve been metalsmithing for about 6ish years. I cast my first jewelry piece in high school as part of an industrial arts class, which I loved learning how to do, but never really got the opportunity to continue. About 6 years ago, I took a metalsmithing intensive class at Studio JSD with Julie Sanford and fell in love with metal. I have gone back to take more classes there, have taken classes at Armstrong Tool, and have taken enameling classes with Barbara Lewis and Anne Havel. Other than that, I’ve learned through a lot of books, videos, and trial and error. I have loved all of my classes; each one has helped me learn new skills. Now that classes are being held in person again, I am looking forward to finding more to take!

One of my favorite techniques is piercing and sawing designs on the backplate of my pieces. For me it’s like finding a hidden surprise when a piece is turned over. Currently, I am working on a special piece for the Dalmatian Club of America Foundation for our 2022 fundraiser “Art Show at the Dog Show” auction. The piece has a Dalmatian cutout on the backplate - the stone will be a beautiful Snowflake Obsidian to keep with the spotted theme. I included the picture in this spotlight just because it makes me smile.

One of my favorite pieces is the Chalcedony pendant seen here, as it was one of my first pieces and the first time I made the chain as well.

Last year, I decided to add a new studio dedicated to metalsmithing and enameling. I wanted to feel creative during the time when all shows and galleries were closed, so I spent a lot of time finishing the interior of my new studio including adding a metal wall feature. I chose to put my studio in my backyard so that my coworkers Elwood and Sunshine, my two Dalmatians, can spend the day with me while I work.

My career included working for human service nonprofits and teaching. I am retired and am fortunate to have a husband, Paul, who is extremely supportive of my metalsmithing and creative work. I have been married for 33 years and have spent most of that time living in the country and love the peacefulness that comes with living surrounded by nature. I love creating, spending time outdoors and with my dogs, and reading. I love a challenge and will take on almost any project. I have raised and shown Dalmatians for over 30 years.

I sell my work at the Shiawassee Arts Center Gallery in Owosso, MI and a few local shows. I have been a member of MSG for 3 years.”