“I have always been creative in one way or another and to date, it hasn’t stopped. As a young girl, I couldn’t just cook dinner for my family; I had to type a “menu” that listed the items that were being served. This was done on a manual typewriter because electric typewriters had not been invented yet. The good news is that my family went along with my antics until one day I decided to “charge” my brother and sisters for their meals. At the age of 10, my elementary school teacher entered a design that I had created on linoleum block into the “National Scholastic Arts Award Contest”. I won a “Gold Key” that I still have to this day, although I wish I had kept the linoleum block. Throughout the years, I learned to knit, crochet, and then one day discovered “beading” to make jewelry, becoming a member of the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild.
One day I wanted to create a special design and went to my favorite bead store to inquire about something specific. The owner suggested that I take lessons in metalsmithing, but I didn’t know what she was talking about. She told me that I could take classes at Fritz Willis in Franklin. Well, I signed up for those classes, fell in love with metalsmithing and never looked back at another bead! I have also taken classes at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, the College for Creative Studies, and have traveled to classes in SC, OH and just about everywhere else I could afford to go.
I don’t remember exactly when I joined MSG, but am a past board member and have met so many wonderful friends along the way. When it comes to my work, I love working with silver, but have also found an affinity for copper and nu-gold. I can attest to the perceived “healing” properties of copper so like to make a lot of my jewelry with this metal. Nu-Gold is easy to work with and great designs can be created at a more affordable price. One of my most popular rings is cowrie shell set in Nu-Gold. Speaking of prices…I believe the most important aspect of pricing is to keep accurate records not only of your time to create but also other expenses such as your hourly rate, material costs, state taxes, shipping charges, etc. I created an Excel spreadsheet so I can update any changes in costs, and there I also document how I made the pattern so it also serves as a recipe of the pattern for future use.
So as I head into 2021, I have come to the conclusion that I need to do something that I haven’t done for a while…challenge myself to do more, get out of my comfort zone, and create designs that will take me to a higher level. I know it’s there! I know I can do it! Now the question is…who wants to join me? Are you in?”
Marilyn’s work may be found in her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SouthernJewelryColl