Thursday, July 23, 2009

Doxa-what? Doxa-WHO? What's up with that?

I caught a bit of a blogpost today that was an update of sorts on the author of the blog. Citing the fact that the 'about me' page hasn't changed in a while, nor does it necessarily fully capture who he is, he put together a little update.

I thought it was a neat idea, so I'm adopting it, adapting it, and encouraging you to do the same. :) I read some of you a lot, but don't necessarily know how you got to be where you are or whatever, so, give it some thought and maybe clue us all in a little bit sometime soon.

Behind " A Metalsmith's Journey" or "Doxallo Designs", Part I

Let's start with.........some questions I get:

What's with the name?
"A metalsmith's journey" - that's pretty self explanatory and since I didn't know exactly where I might go with this whole thing I thought I chose to be decidedly vague. ;)

"Doxallo Designs" - I really didn't know what to use as a 'business name'. Some advise not to use one's own name as you can never divest yourself of it....its always gonna be with you. I have always like the word "Doxa" - greek for glory. Not that I think I'm some great glory mind you - but I like the idea that something 'glorious' can come from raw materials...and that the things I chose to work with - stones from the earth, to me, point to God's glory. The glory of His creation turned into my creations (now THATs what I call teamwork! haha).

Anyway, I combined that word with 'llo' which I shortened from "Mr. Cellophane" from the song in the movie Chicago. I love the song, the skit, and I can appreciate that Mr. Cellophane felt 'invisible', hidden from sight ("'Cause you can look right through me, Walk right by me, And never know I'm there!") , and I appreciate that the rocks I use are hidden from sight, under our feet, in the earth, til someone digs them up, cuts and polishes them; and they make it to me for use in jewelry. So its a revelation - of a hidden glory. Hence, "Doxallo" means 'hidden glory'.

It also encompases part of my life philosophy, how I try to go through life - looking for the glory in all things. Hidden glory perhaps, but still there. In 'things', in 'moments', and in people.

How'd you get your start?

I have always like being creative although I think I surpressed it for many years...or just got too busy or something. Life took over well, my life. ;-)

But I've drawn - I used to use pastels (chalk) when I was MUCH younger - pre-teen, and I've attempted tons of other hobby things - candle making, fabric painting, working with dried flowers, string art, I can't recall what all I've bought supplies for over the years thinking that 'this will be fun!'. Then never taking the time to really learn to make something of quality. I recently took up painting, acrylics, with my son, but thats done very minimally although I enjoy it a lot.

So, how did I get into jewelry?
Well, someone gave my daughter a wire jewelry kit. She never even really opened the box and it sat and sat and sat, collecting dust. For YEARS. I pulled it out once and looked at it but it wasn't appealing to me and back under the sofa it went. (for real) Until I pulled it out once again when I was cleaning. Wanting a break from cleaning (yea, who doesn't want THAT? a break from cleaning that is...)

I sat down and leafed through the book. Hmm, kind of interesting. I picked up the wire and a small pair of pliers and fiddled a bit. Cute. But thats it. Cute. Nothing I would wear. Why not? Because it was very thin metal, and base metal, who knows what kind. It just didn't appeal to me.

This is one of the first things EVER that I made - is on that hard springy wire - whats it called?? Dang, can't think of it -- ohhhhhh memory wire. Now there's a memory I'd like to forget.

I then used some base metal in the box for things like these earrings.

These are with brass or some other wire that came in the box, I know not what it was, but they are kind of cute.

I now had another tool though - the internet. I don't really recall if I went in search of or if I just happend on it, but I found some info on wire jewelry. Connie Fox is one of the most prominently known that I came across. Now THIS interested me. I like her work. I bought some sterling wire and some beads and I've never looked back. I was instantly hooked.

This is my first use of sterling wire. Loops and 's' links and a very basic little clasp. And you can see my first "Connie Fox" bangle as well.

I went online further and found others working in wire and I learned and grew and was really enjoying it as a hobby, both creatively and socially.

About a year or two into it I began adding in some sheet, using cold connections I made pieces like these earrings.

Then I bought a little plumbers torch to make headpins.

The sheet quickly began taking over my designs and I stamped and punched and used heat to reticulate. and then....

I learned to solder.

This is my first soldered piece. A simple ring band.

Soldering changed things DRASTICALLY. I learned to make my own settings and forms and its just taken off from there.

You can see where I am now....pretty far from where I began. Its been ohhhh, right about 5 years total I think.

I am mostly self guided in my learning. I haven't been able to enroll in a metals program but I've learned from books, and friends online, and other online sources, and I've had the benefit of a few weekend workshops. Slowly, and sometimes painfully, I have learned new skills. Its been a lot of fun. :)

Why aren't you selling more of your work?
I have JUST recently begun selling. There are a few reasons I've been somewhat hesitant to sell. First and foremost, I have very exacting standards. I don't want work going out that I can't comfortably stand behind 100%. So I've continued perfecting. I'm not unrealistic (well mostly) - I'm not aiming for an unreasonable or unattainable standard, but I've had a sort of circular pattern working against me. Since I had the mindset, in the beginning, of this being a hobby I have allowed myself to be very myopic; only seeing the one part of a project that I was learning at the time. Sometimes this meant the backside of a piece wasn't addressed at all. Or that I rushed through one part just to get to the part which used the technique I wanted to learn at the time. At times I didn't even finish a piece, just went on to the next. I am blessed that I could afford to approach this strictly as a hobby. But the whole "I'm not selling, so it doesn't matter" began working against me as it gave me permission to CONTINUE working that way even after I had the skils to properly finish something.

The other factor has been time. I haven't had the time to take selling seriously. Business plan, tax ID, packaging....and on and on and on...I am only now beginning to organize some of those things. So, I'm starting. But its slow going. :) And thats ok with me.

I'll stop there. Don't want to bore you all in one day. ;-)

Have a question you'd like me to answer? About myself, or my work, or whatever..? List it in the comments, or drop me an email (janiceihg AT hotmail DOT com) and I'll answer it in Part II, or III, or IV....

And seriously, consider answering some of your most FAQs on your blog. I bet your readers are interested in learning more about you, how you got your start, what makes you tick, what inspires you, etc etc etc. I know I am. I'll be reading......



  1. Awesome idea, Janice! I love seeing your 'history' of work - gives me hope!;-)

  2. It's amazing how far you've come on your own. I still can't bring myself to buy a torch and keep it at home and I've taken a sememster of college metals. Your rings are fantastic and I know how difficult those are! Keep it going!

  3. Oh come on Kirstie!! I've got nothin' on you!

    Hi Nena - don't be afraid - light that torch!! Thanks for the encouragemnt - and feedback - I appreciate it!


  4. Thank you for that my dear! I feel like I know your journey into smithing. Love the meaning behind your name, very thought out. And I know what you mean about addressing the back of a piece and totally finishing it. Your work is so unique, clean ang beautiful! I hope you sell lots!

  5. Thanks so much Carolyn! That means a lot since I love your work so much!!! YAY! :)

  6. This is great Janice! Thanks for sharing information like this. I like the idea and think it would be a fun thing to do on my blogs too.

    I especially enjoyed the whole progression of your work from your first piece to where you are today. Thumbs up!