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30 June 2010

Archives June 2009 : Jeweler of the Month

Jeweler of the Month:
Dawn Muscio

I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist and was fortunate to have parents that supported my passion. I have been in the business nearly 20 years. I attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where I received my BFA in 1991. My original major was graphic design/illustration, but I soon found my true calling in an elective jewelry course.

I was truly inspired on my first day of art school when our drawing professor told us that out of 30 of us, only 3 would be able to call themselves professional artists… meaning your livelihood was your art. Today I can truly call myself a professional artist.

After college I received my real training in a fine art jewelry gallery in upstate New York from 1991 to 1999, under my protégé, Albert Paley. I started out at the bottom as a repair jeweler and finisher but quickly was allowed to design pieces to be sold in the store and then began doing custom work for customers of the store and quickly gained a following.

Then in 1999 I relocated to Atlanta, GA where I worked for several stores and trade shops trying to find my place. Finally, in August of 2005 I opened D. Muscio fine jewelry studio and have been specializing in custom, unique pieces ever since. We also sell signature designer pieces, designed and crafted in-house, as well as provide services to the trade, including: hand carved wax models, hand fabrication/finishing and CAD/CAM.

What was your first piece?
The first piece of jewelry I ever made was in high school my junior year. Our first project was a lesson in saw piercing. I made a piano. I have the piece framed and hanging in my studio’s private consultation room, as a reminder of where I began and where I am going. Our clients love to hear the story behind it.

What is your creative process?
The creative process always starts on paper for me. Sketching opens up my creativity, and gets my mind working in 3-D. That first sketch leads to more concepts until I have a concrete idea. I use this process for signature pieces as well as private client commissions. The sketch is my road map, but as the idea transfers from concept to actual 3-dimensions what I thought would work sometimes leads to another avenue and solution. It is this problem solving and thought generation process that leads to our unique and personalized designs. I do not know what I would do if I could not sketch. My work is all about evolution – both as an artist over time as well as my process… it is always evolving.

What is your favorite part of making jewelry?
I take a lot of design cues from architecture and geometry, but it can be an everyday object that gives me inspiration, like the handle on a tea cup for a shank profile. I consider my work miniature sculpture and take into account every surface as an opportunity to be creative and innovative to try something I have not tried or seen before.

Who are your jewelry heroes?
The Germans -- for their mastery of technique and precision.

What is your favorite part of making jewelry?
The journey I take with my clients from consultation to finished piece.

What is on your bench now?
An heirloom diamond remount for a private client that is in its final stages of finishing. The project was to preserve her mother’s original wedding band, and combine it with her engagement diamond and give it a timeless and updated look.

What is your most indispensable tool?
That is the toughest question, because as Dallas knows I love tools! So I will narrow it down to my top 3. My dividers, micrometer and loupe. It is all about precision and quality for me.

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