Just Me

on a journey of self discovery

The Journey of Self Discovery is a life-long pursuit. Every good, bad, beautiful, and ugly occurrence in life has a purpose, and it is our job along the way to put those pieces together and discover more about ourselves.

I’ve spent most of my life using art to assist me in making sense of the world and helping me through my journey by communicating what I can in visual form. Like a visual poem, images flow through my hands in a way words do not flow through my brain, providing me with an accurate form of expression like no other.

I’ve always felt a frustration with the slow, methodical use of written words, scratched out and rewritten to communicate an idea, and even though speed of artistic expression is by no means any quicker for me, it is more pure, accurate, enjoyable, and satisfying.

I never fully understood why my brain connected so easily with the visual-spatial world while there was such disconnect with the literary world. At age 46, I discovered that I was dyslexic. Talk about a curve ball! This discovery sent light bulb flashes through my head like a strobe light, as I researched and read all the misunderstood issues surrounding dyslexia. It brought a level of understanding which had eluded me my whole life. I always thought I created as a compensation method for my lack of these heavily left brained skills. But in my discovery, I learned my strong visual-spatial abilities are the flip side of the coin – not merely a compensatory mode of operation, but a positive outcome of dyslexia. Now that’s a paradigm shift I never saw coming!

As a kid, I regained any lack of self-confidence through my art. My art was a safe place where hiding my shortcomings was not necessary. My parents picked up on my love of creating by sending me to art classes of every sort. By the age of 13, I gravitated toward jewelry making and had several classes under my belt. I apprenticed for a wild young talent who converted antique pieces into modern creations, and then another, an eclectic artisan making more modern pieces.

After High School, I took off to experience the world as many teens do, and continued my education in art. I attended Kutztown University receiving my BS after immersing myself in Fine Art and Education studies. I unexpectedly fell in love with my best friend and soul mate of 27 years, Chris (he’s the guy you always hear me talking about cooking gourmet lunches for my students at my classes).

After college, my experiences lead me from a short period of teaching art in public school, to owning a graphic design business. I worked on projects for large and small companies designing anything from logos to identity packages.

During this time, my daughter was born and I began publishing a parenting magazine. As owner and publisher, I did everything from layout, design, sales, publicity, and diaper changes. Eighteen months later my son was born, and then my husband joined the team, running the whole operation together for 12 years.

In 2002, I discovered fine silver Metal Clay. It was not the “eureka” experience I thought it might be. My first impression was it was thick and clunky and unrefined – I really wasn’t impressed with what "I" could do with it. I put Metal Clay away for some time, but luckily I eventually tried it again. Without classes or books, I learned Metal Clay could be refined. Talk about the do-it-yourself way of learning something new. Finally, I had my “aha” moment, and now I must admit, I have one every time I open the kiln door. My life had come full circle back to my love for jewelry making.

In 2004, I received my Metal Clay certification and sucked up every book written on the subject. At the time, I was doing a lot of shows and met several of the magazine editors who often cruise the show floors looking for something new. My artwork started appearing in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Belle Armoire, Bead Unique, Beadwork, Art Jewelry, Metal Clay Jewelry Artist, Metal Clay Today, and others. I went on to author articles for these magazines also.

If owning a publication reaching over 120,000 people, and writing for national and international publications wasn’t ironic enough for someone with dyslexia, I finally got up enough guts to write a book after pondering it for over five years. The true impetus of giving something permanent back to the Metal Clay community overrode my fear of writing it (it is still in the works).

My journey then became a physical one of traveling for the last couple of years all over the world, meeting and instructing enthusiastic Metal Clay students from all walks of life – creative folks who feed my soul with love, inspiration, and friendship. What a thrill it is taking this hometown girl out of her comfort zone from state to state and across the big pond.

Along the way, I’ve documented many of my experiences in the imagery of my jewelry. Having a body of work with symbolism, meaning, and purpose has become my way, giving me a voice I otherwise did not have. It has taken me a lifetime to learn how to channel my slice-of-life moments through art, and interpret what I see and feel through my own personal filter. And the journey continues!

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To contact Holly
hgage1@ptd.net
Lancaster, PA USA
717-445-5755

© 2019 Gage Designs. All rights reserved. This site and all jewelry designs, artwork, and information are protected under copyright law. Reproduction in whole or part are prohibited.