Manitou Outlook is my sterling silver home jewelry studio in the small town of Cedar, Michigan, overlooking the Manitou Passage within the great Lake Michigan. Each scene throughout the year sets the tone of every day and every creation. An educator by profession, my passion for metalsmithing has been largely self-taught. For more than 25 years, I have been learning the skill of designing and creating jewelry, working exclusively with the fabrication of sterling silver. Using the techniques of piercing, sawing, etching and forging on a flat sheet of sterling, unique handmade pieces are formed.
My goal is to create beautiful, well-crafted sterling silver jewelry with simplicity of design that compliments the magic of the metal. For me, there is something sensual about silver that doesn't exist in other metals. Master Danish silversmith, Georg Jensen, paralleled silver to the moon's shine on a beautiful night. I understand that.
The magic is exaggerated with the addition of stones. Shaping and polishing a piece of the earth, bringing it to life, is fascinating. To me, the marriage of stone to metal is a perfect representation of a harmonious union of nature and man. It is a privilege to watch the development of a well-crafted piece and give birth to it.....and it's an honor to see it appreciated by others.
Thank you for visiting.
I was born in Estherville, Iowa. That said, I really didn't spend much time there. I was an "oil brat" rather than a navy one. Dad was a successful employee with SInclair Oil Company and, consequently, was transferred to a different town about every 2 years. By 14, I had been in 7 schools in 4 states. After finishing 8th grade, I was anxious to move up to high school. I had made many friends and was feeling my roots start to take hold in Omaha, Nebraska. It was then that Dad came home to say he was offered another position. I vehamently rebelled - until I knew the destination of this next opportunity. In August, 1965, we moved to England.
We were able to rent a beautiful, old Tudor home in the village of Eynsford, Kent, 25 miles south of London. The transition period was shorter than expected as we embraced the English culture, customs and countryside. Rather than attend the American School in London, my brother and I chose to attend local schools and totally immerse ourselves with all available activities. Friends were made then who still remain faithful in friendship today but it was the neighbor up the road who I will forever be grateful. He sparked my passion for silver.
Jorgen Hostrup-Pedesen was larger than life. He was a witty, clever, charismatic Dane who lived each day like it was his last. He owned the Georg Jensen shop on London's Bond Street, famous for jewelry and extravagances of the elite. His home was a treasure of exquisite sterling silver things from goblets to candelabras and his living room boasted huge original paintings and a handpainted ceiling of Danish design. One day, he asked if we might want to go to the shop with him and spend some time exploring the area.
That day was a whirlwind for me as an impressionable 14-year old in the sixties when England ruled the world of music and fashion. Everything glowed and pulsed. The highlight of the day, however, was hidden in the basement of that Georg Jenson shop. Beyond the front room of refinement with its quiet display of stunning sterling, Jorgen and his wife, Signe, took us through the back office where we descended stairs leading to the silversmith work area. There, we met Erik and Ole, the head "silversmithies" and 2 other smithers working on various projects. I was in awe. We watched as silver sheet was worked to a vessel and molten metal transformed to sleek jewelry and silverware. When Erik noticed my keen interest, he stopped his work and proceeded to explain what they were doing, the tools on his workbench and some tricks of the trade. Here, I was in a basement room in London with one of the master silversmithers in the world. I was in heaven. That day, I knew this image would lead me down the path to my own silversmithing studio.
Today, in Northern Michigan, my studio is a reality. I create my own silver designs, inspired by the true beauty and peace of this area I now call home. With my husband, Ross; our golden retriever, Gracie ; and Tucker, the cat, life here is a reward. Today, far from London, the journey continues but roots are finally able to settle in a little as I look back and give thanks to the memory of that Day at the Shop.