Irene :)

I didn’t set out to do this for a living.

A couple of lifetimes ago, I worked for small manufacturing companies — children’s clothing and consumer electronics — in customer service, purchasing/procurement, marketing assistance, repairs, shipping, and more. Later, when I basically fell into the world of crafts and learned how satisfying it is to make things by hand, those experiences gave me the skills I needed to earn a living creating and selling my work.

Because art/craft is essentially manufacturing, ya know?

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia (where I worked for those small manufacturers), then in my mid-20’s, moved to Folly Beach, South Carolina. I swam in the ocean, waited tables, and lived in a run-down beachfront apartment… until Hurricane Hugo moved me off the island. I finally landed in these beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in 1992.

Here, I took a job as the shipping department of a craft supply store. Employees were encouraged to try everything so that we could be tech support when customers called. I wove a rug, marbled paper, poured candles, dyed fabric, painted silk, sewed a pair of leather moccasins, knitted a few inches of a sweater, and got my hands on polymer clay.

So that’s when and where it started. I’m self-taught, for the most part, but I learned (and continue to learn) from books, articles, workshops, and of course the internet.

In 1999, Lark Books approached me about writing and producing work for a beginner-level polymer clay book. What an honor! I eventually authored and created work for three books, and my writing and work is featured in numerous others. Read more about my work in print on the page My Books.

In 2001, I was accepted into the Southern Highland Craft Guild — hurrah! I try to be an active part of the Guild, and have served on several committees over the years. I also provide educational demonstrations in the lobby of the Folk Art Center a few times each year.

I’ve taught a few times at John C. Campbell Folk School, Arrowmont School, as well as for a few regional polymer clay guilds. No plans to teach in the near future, but that could change one day.

You can find my work at the wonderful shops and galleries listed here.