We're so lucky in that we often make personal and serendipitous connections with talented jewelry designers and artisans – and when that happens we want to make sure everyone knows how great they are!
During our last holiday season at a craft fair held by Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), Shannon and I found ourselves sitting next to Cate Yoder, who got her start, interestingly enough, at a Course offered by SFCC, at a time in my life when I was serving as the president of that college. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see that the creator of such beautiful jewelry credited the college and its jewelry program in getting her started in the world of fine jewelry design.
Here's Cate's story – one that may not be entirely unique in the world of fine art and craft – but a story that I feel should be told more often.
While on a reprieve from her job in the fast-paced corporate world on the east coast, Cate visited Santa Fe, and purely by chance, saw a flier for a two-day ring-making course offered by Holly Stoltz at SFCC. Long story short, she took the course, fell in love with jewelry-making and with Santa Fe, and never looked back. She left the rat race behind to design and create beautiful ornaments that I think of as sometimes whimsical, sometimes bold, and always unique and elegant. The picture above is just one example, but of course one of our favorites – since she bought the orange paua shell pieces from us that day at the fair. And of course we bought two pieces from her – delicious earring sets, one each for Shannon and myself.
I asked Cate what advice she would have for aspiring jewelry designers. She said – and I couldn't agree more: "Do what you love!" We all know one has to support such passion with hard work and training. She also sites a book called 'The Art of Jewelry Making' by Alan Revere (who operates the Revere Academy of Jewelry in San Francisco) as a great source of inspiration. Cate has traveled around the world and throughout the US, taking classes about all kinds of techniques, styles, and stones. Her jewelry is a reflection of the craft she has so painstakingly learned, the talents of her teachers and masters, and her own distinctive spin on the craft. Her favorite materials are sterling silver, copper and brass -- and stones such as turquoise, carnelian, "Pounamu" (New Zealand green jade), moonstone, tsavorite garnet, and rubies. She often finishes pieces in a way that gives an old, antique look – achieved through chasing, patina and oxidation. Some of her pieces have been made through lost-wax and cuttlefish casting, which she greatly enjoys, as it's a different approach to making jewelry. And lately she's developing a new niche in hollow form rings and earrings – which you can find in abundance on her Etsy.com shop:
And while you're at it, check out her gorgeous web site:
I asked Cate what her long-term goals were, and she said she simply hopes to continue making jewelry, as it is a major life passion that brings her joy – and to share that joy with others. I'd have to say that so far, she's doing a phenomenal job!
If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also enjoy The New Rock Star of Beads.