My mother would never let us be idle in the summer, so aside from sports, we would take crafts classes of all kinds: pottery, lapidary, painting - a wide variety of things. Then I took one semester of jewelry making at NMSU, in New Mexico. When I went to Albuquerque looking for a job, that all paid off. I got a job making turquoise jewelry with a new company, largely based on those experiences. Well, that company went from $0 to $1 million in the first year, and aside from making a lot of jewelry, I also became the foreman of both a silverwork shop and the lapidary department, where we did fine inlay work in addition to cutting stones. After that experience, I traveled for awhile, did jewelry in garages and such, and then moved to Hawaii. There I got a job in a shop that gave me my first real taste of gold. Then I came to San Francisco, and got a job in a large, fine jewelry shop, where I learned all about platinum, diamonds and fine quality craftsmanship. In 1983, I decided it was time to open my own place, and here I am to this day.
My name is Jo-Ann Maggiora Donivan and I have been a working metalsmith & jeweler for over 30 years. During this time I have been a member of several metals organizations, including the Metal Arts Guild. I have served in many capacities at the board level and have been spending the last 18 years at the bench fulltime. I am classically trained in silver, gold and platinum. My inspirations come from many sources and in this particular case, from a life experience. Olga was a senior member of my family for whom I was put in charge of for her health care issues. "Olga's Journey Pendant" reflects life's smooth spots as well as rough patches. The gemstones that were chosen revolve around the drusy green garnet and orange sunstone. Her life had lots of color and glamour. This piece is cast as well as fabricated and meant to have a female presence in metal.
Years ago, one of my biggest challenges was that I was a woman in a predominately man's world. It's not a complaint but a simple fact. In the trade shops where I honed my skills I worked with craftsmen that were at the bench for 25-45 years and were not about to share their secrets & tricks at the bench. I had to observe and learn quickly. I also learned that your reputation does precede you and it's very important to be ethical and honest on a daily basis. So, too, with Olga and her issues- it was important to maintain these qualities with her care. Thus at her 94 years of life, she taught me that life still holds much sparkle and glitz.This necklace is dedicated to a woman who knew how to capture secrets & tricks along the way, yet maintain a craftsman-like quality in day to day living. In the Metal Arts Guild I have been fortunate to associate with women like merry renk, Helene S. French, Helen Kirshner, Margret de Patta and many more.