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Fine Jewelry Pendant - 1.5" x 2" on 17.5" chain
Rare Carey plume agate, sterling silver and Oregon sunstone. This is a collaboration piece combining the jewelry design skills of Mary Jo Weiss and featuring a rare Carey Ranch plume agate from near Prineville, Oregon that was cut and polished by Denny Tower. The mounting is inspired by the red plume formation in the stone and enhanced with red Oregon sunstones for added color and sparkle. This year's theme of "Moving Beyond" inspired the selection of the stone for the setting in that the flowerlike red plume resonates of spring and new horizons opening up.
Mary Jo is an award-winning metalsmith currently based in central Oregon. Her love of jewelry and metalwork was forged after attending her first jewelry class at Northern Illinois University, where she later earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Starting out in Madison Wisconsin, Mary Jo apprenticed in a jewelry repair shop, then moved on to designing and creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces for an independent retail store. She relocated to Sisters in the early 90’s. Influenced by raising two daughters and the beauty of her surroundings, her work is strongly inspired by family and nature. She began working as a bench jeweler for a local store where she hand fabricated jewelry using gold, silver and fine gems, while expanding and honing her skills. At the same time, she maintained a home studio where she continued exploring and creating her own work. In 2012, after 18 years as a bench jeweler, she left to pursue her own work full time. Shortly thereafter, she helped to create Torch Jewelry Collective, a female owned-and-operated cooperative that creates the space for comradery and encouragement while still allowing the artists to remain independent business owners. In addition to owning Josepha Weiss Designs, Mary Jo taught jewelry and metalwork classes at Central Oregon Community College. Currently she is teaching workshops and small classes at her studio in Torch Jewelry Collective. Furthermore, after 30 years in the area, Mary Jo has developed a local following and a uniquely recognizable style that has earned her multiple awards. For Mary Jo, the purest of joy comes from creation. “I enjoy the process, the way a piece evolves and takes on a life of its own. To start with materials and a concept and see where it takes me, being spontaneous, always learning and exploring in the process. In the end, I hope to create a one-of-a-kind wearable art that people will love for generations to come.”
Denny is a professional geologist and amateur lapidarist who has had a lifelong fascination with rocks and earth geological processes. He began collecting agates as a very young child and has a large collection of now hard to find Oregon agates and gemstones. He enjoys being able to collaborate with Mary Jo Weiss every year and to see how she will bring her unique jewelry design abilities to enhance one of nature's treasures.
Gallery Representation: The Jewel, Red Chair Gallery (Mary Jo Weiss)