Why I am NOT a Jeweler …

by Chrissy Doolen

I am now entering my 4th year of showing at First Saturday Arts Market, and my 10th year of making jewelry. About a year ago Mitch was doing an article on a few of us artists. In the article, he described me as a jeweler. Since then I have reflected on his view of me and my immediate reaction to that label. I called him right away stating… I am NOT a jeweler, I am a metalsmith!

My entire life I have had a strong desire to create. I loved art in school, I poorly learned to play the piano and drums. I begged and got my first camera at age 7. I was always driven to make something, create something. In college, I studied photography. I had my own darkroom and had a blast developing my own images. I did a little photo work after that but mainly worked in the corporate world.

Chrissy Doolen's workbench.

Chrissy Doolen’s workbench.

Fast forward what seems like an entire lifetime and you arrive at the years 2000- 2001. New adventures, marriage and a big move from Louisiana to Colorado. I decided I was ready to be a photographer. I did portrait work and beautiful nature photos, after all, Colorado offers a ton of beauty. A few years later I was introduced to the scrapbooking phenomenon. What a blast! I worked for several manufacturers and a favorite was traveling all over the U.S. to teach the

classes I had developed. It was the perfect place for me to marry my photography with paper art. But like all good things that lead you where you should truly be… the industry slowed and I was ready to move on. I came home and told my husband I wanted to become a metalsmith…. His priceless response… “of course you do”.

I went to school for about 3.5 years studied every technique I could and decided to venture out into a world of jewelry making. Close to this time my husband is having to transfer with his job to Houston. I’m thinking, new area, a new adventure. I found many shows and markets to participate in, however, until I foundFirst Saturday Arts Market I never truly realized how to describe me.

You see to me I equated jeweler with that person that sits in a shop making wedding rings and such. Someone that casts there designs. Not that there is anything at all wrong with that, they are skilled amazing people. We all have our space. But for me, what I discovered is that I am an artist. I don’t fit in a box. I want to make and create in every way I can. From painting to home decorating to remodeling, making things out of wood, making displays for my tent, creating little pieces of wearable art, I am an artist. Everything I see and do I approach with this artist eye.

I still love working with metal and every day I learn. I think I have finally found that medium that of which I will never tire… but then again I know me, and I know better than to ever say never.