This week I had the opportunity to interview one of our jewelry artists, Linda Whitney, of Whitney Designs. Linda and her husband, John, have been creating jewelry since 1970. After years of traveling the craft circuit while toting along their daughter, they became members of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and eventually started to branch out and sell to stores. For a few years, they produced sterling silver flatware and gold and silver jewelry. After experimenting in brass and nickel to make larger sculptural forms, they developed the jewelry lines they currently produce today.
Linda says that, "Living in Arizona, New Mexico, and now Vermont has allowed them to take inspiration from the towns and put it into their work". As an artist, its is the culmination of one's life that is put into a work of art. After experimenting with polymer clay, they were then working with such unique materials that they just had to combine them. With pasta rollers, Cuisinart machines and toasters filling the studio, it has made creating art very interesting.
John's grandfather was a rock hand, so early in life John was able to learn to cut and polish stones. Using all of the techniques learned over the past 30 years, Whitney Designs now has over 300 different designs. According to Linda, this is their favorite time of year. They are able to start working on new designs for the spring and take time off to reflect on the past year's work to see what designs they will continue and which they will retire.
I wondered what it would be like growing up in a family with both parents as artists. Linda says her daughter is very creative, but has not taken it on as a vocation. She plans on being an elementary school teacher. On the other hand, they have just acquired a new puppy for the family and have high hopes of teaching her to make jewelry, but as of now, chewing the rawhide mallet is as far as she is willing to go.
For more information on Whitney Designs, visit our website at: