Inspired to Inspire.

On March 23, 2014, the most amazing woman I have ever known passed away - my grandmother, Clara Mae Madison. Clara had an incredible love for others. She always sought to lift people up and help them in their time of need. People loved to be around her for the simple delight that comes from being in the presence of someone who truly cares. She had a strong, stubbornness about her that was endearing and fun, and a smile that was so genuine that it always made you smile back. The loss shook me in a way that I can't begin to explain.

Clara loved jewelry, especially turquoise, and upon her death, she left her jewelry to me. Over the following year, I would spend countless hours looking through the jewelry that she left behind . . . remembering a particular piece that she wore and occasionally catching her scent still lingering on a necklace. I began wearing the pieces for both their beauty and the gentle reminder of Clara's presence. The turquoise reminded me of her firey personality and Cherokee Indian heritage, while the amethyst reminded me of her dignity and strength. Over time I grew more and more fond of the pearls. Like the lovely oyster, my grandmother had surrounded me with love and support when I was at my weakest. She gave me strength and shielded me from harm to the greatest extent she could. She was the oyster and I am her pearl.

I've been an attorney since 1997 and in recent years I have spent a portion of my time representing children in CPS cases. I began to think about the story of the oyster and the pearl and how it might inspire children to understand that they can become more than the lot that life has given to them. They are each pearls - needing only to be surrounded by love so that they may flourish. I began making a pearl necklace for each child that I represent, as a simple reminder of how special they are and the potential that they hold.

Eventually, I began to think about how jewelry is a unique form of art that is carried with us always. My own experience led me to realize that jewelry can be created, not only for its beauty, but as a reminder of love, hope and inspiration. The story of the pearl really applies to us all. We are faced with irritants and struggles as we journey through life, but we may choose either to withdraw from those struggles and be defeated or, like the oyster, we can take those struggles and begin the hard work of remaking them into something beautiful. We can create pearls in our lives.

So, I began using the beautiful art of jewelry making to forge together symbols of love, hope, beauty and laughter from metals, stones and pearls. It is my hope that my designs will bring inspiration, strength and joy to those who wear them . . . just as my grandmother's jewelry has done for me.