Wendy Garver is the Jewellery designer and owner of SilverWhimsies Jewelry. born in Albuquerque she now lives in Darnestown, maryland, usA. Originally a portrait painter, she began to realise that she desperately needed a change. over time she discovered her new passion and has never looked back.
Wendy’s influences for making jewellery come from everyday nature and life. Sculpting designs in her head as she sees shapes appearing from the molten silver. She loves to melt precious metal and take her creativity from the very raw essence of the metal. This liquid form can even be seen in her finished jewellery. Since there are beautiful curves, smooth corners and a free flowing movement present in all her work.
Her stunning jewellery organically grows around the gemstones and never has a start or finish. Wendy loves to use traditional materials such as sterling silver and semi precious stones. However, she has a love for the ocean and all the colours within it. She manages to echo the beauty in the water and beach by using sea glass. Every piece is unique, translucent, rounded by nature and is set using her very skilled hands. She literally makes the glass come alive again, as it once was in the ocean. Shimmering and reflecting natural light in abundance.
Wendy was kind enough to do a Q&A with me. She chatted about her work, jewellery and design, and much more.
Tell us about yourself, and your love affair with Jewellery.
Before I discovered metal works I was a portrait painter. One day while putting the “final touches” on a painting for the thousandth time, I realized I was not enjoying what I was doing so I put the paint away. After going cold turkey from creating art my son suggested I take a class at our local community college. I studied the course catalogue and saw metalsmithing. I signed up and it was love at first torch.
When did you first realise you wanted to make Jewellery as a career?
Learning the techniques of moving metal around really resonated with me and after 3 semesters I decided I’d make jewellery full time. I opened an Etsy shop then built a website then started applying to Arts and Craft Festivals. The shop started out slowly and the website drained my brain but having a booth at a festival really changed my world. I love doing shows; you meet so many creative and wonderful people. A piece of advice here, research the show before entering though; some of the shows are real stinkers.
As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?
I get asked a lot what inspires my designs. I am inspired by everything I see around me. Whether it’s nature, architecture or seeing something on T.V. I observe and look at everything with a designers eye.
When something pops out at me I wonder how I can turn that image into a piece of jewellery.
I mull it over for a bit then sit down at my bench and get to work.
The majority of my jewellery begins by melting down scrap or virgin silver. It is easier for me to create jewellery using this technique because I don’t need to worry about ruining a pristine piece of silver. This frees me up to see a design in the blob of silver; sort of like making images out of clouds. Once I see my minds eye image I get to work hammering and shaping the metal.
How would you describe your designs?
There is nothing dainty about my work because there is nothing dainty about my technique. There are very few angles or hard edges in my jewellery; I like to keep things round and organic. Since I work a lot with sea glass my goal is to have the metal reflect the free flowing lines of the glass. Since no two pieces of sea glass are the same no two pieces of my jewellery are the same.
What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?
Of all the pieces of jewellery I’ve made I like the one I did last the most then I make another piece and that one becomes my favourite.
I love the process of creating something new so it’s hard for me to dwell on something I’ve already completed. The beauty in the piece of jewellery is not just in its finished form but in the artistic and creative process.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m focusing on melting down my old gold jewellery and incorporating it into different pieces.
I’m also working with different metals like copper and brass. I always want to try something new and hope that it surprises my customers.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a jewellery designer?
If you’re interested in starting your own jewellery line my best advice is to acquire thick skin. You’ll have many disappoints but having patience is a must, a huge must.
Continue to look forward, set goals, stretch your skills to their limits and finally be positive about your experience.
Most importantly, never give up.