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11 December 2009

Archives July 2008 : Jeweler of the Month

Jeweler of the Month :
Judy Parady

When I was in high school, I worked in a Buckhead boutique that sold rock and roll clothing, hash pipes, and lots of hippie jewelry including some very nice Native American turquoise pieces. The manager encouraged me to take a jewelry class at community arts center so I could learn to repair some of the vintage work. After that I was hooked, and enrolled in the GSU program.

My Bachelor of Visual Arts degree from Georgia State University is in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing where I studied with Jem Freyaldenhoven and Richard Mafong. I've studied with other notables in the art world, but after all these years I've discarded almost all of their influences, except for the passion.

I make art in other mediums, too - sculpture, paintings, and drawings.

What was your first piece?
My first finished piece of jewelry, which I still have, was a big, gloppy cast ring featuring a really ugly teal green and orange agate. In retrospect, I don't think the teacher at the community art center knew very much about jewelry making or design. He showed us how to make wax models using soft brown sculptor's wax. There was no way to control the detail or scale. Somehow, that experience did not deter me from further exploration.

Who are your jewelry heroes?
In college, I related very closely to Jem Freyaldenhoven. His primary influence was for quality craftsmanship and personal, authentic design. I miss him still.

I also enjoy the work of Robert Lee Morris and Ted Muehling, both for design and business savvy.

What is your design inspiration?
The mother of desing is always nature. I especially look at plants for texture, color, form and proportion.

What is your favorite part of making jewelry?
My favorite part of making jewelry is wearing it. Women jewelers definitely have an advantage when it comes to "test driving" new designs.

I also very much enjoy teaching jewelry making. So much so that I hold classes in my studio.

What is on your bench now?
I have a couple custom jobs - wedding things, and a big moonstone ring. But, I am most excited about new opportunities to place my jewelry in galleries and stores.

I just shipped a dozen pieces to a great jewelry gallery in Seattle and am currently preparing for work in the Signature Shop here in Atlanta.

What is your most indispensible tool?
Sadly, it is in my Optivisors.

My most beloved tool is a little brass ruler from the old Jewelers Supply Co that was located in downtown while I was in college.

I know there are massive changes in the industry with CadCam devices, laser welders, and the like. However, for the studio jeweler I think the biggest improvements are in finishing products like the bristle wheels from 3M. They remove oxides, while preserving texture and detail.

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