I grew up in a talented family of African-American artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs in the Jim Crow 1950s. At an early age I knew I wanted to be an artist. My first encounter with Western “museum art” was at the John Herron Art Institute and Museum of Antiquity and Modern Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. Even though the museum was in walking distance from my home, this institution inhabited a separate space from my segregated neighborhood. I had wandered in on a hot, summer day. I was eleven years old. I can so clearly recall finding intrigue and mystery in every piece. I read each plaque describing the artifact or art. I remember the clean purposeful lines of an Egyptian sarcophagus, the meticulously wrapped mummified cats, and Grecian sculptures juxtaposed against the vibrancy of modern art. This one afternoon propelled me on a lifelong artist’s journey exploring metal smithing.
I myself am a work in progress. I find inspiration in the natural world, perhaps in a snowflake meandering to the ground or in the physical such as the intricacies of a wrought iron gate. I utilize traditional fabrication techniques as well as weave together traditional elements in unexpected ways to push against convention. Though I may start envisioning each piece with a sketch, I find each piece of work has its’ own voice and speaks to me, at times leading me in unexpected directions. My design esthetic is influenced by traditional West African and Native American motifs, symbolism, and the integration of natural earth materials. My jewelry is bold and substantive. Each piece is defined by clean lines, organic shapes, and beautiful earth materials.