Gayle Whitley Minjarez

Looking back at your own history is a real TRIP. After college in the 60’s as a design and art history major, I became an art teacher. My first piece of jewelry was a pair of handmade wedding rings for my husband and I in 1970. After 7 years of teaching in Temple City, we moved to Santa Barbara, California. There were no teaching positions available at that time so I opened a ceramic studio. My line of pottery was high- fire functional stoneware and a gallery line of Raku ceramics. I traveled across the country to American Craft Council shows, other marketplaces on the East coast and craft fairs on the West coast. My studio was open for 14 years. In 1990 my children were in high school and getting ready for college. The recession of the 90’s was causing galleries to close, so I came home from my last show and made a difficult decision to start on another career path.

I became a State Farm Insurance Agent and built my business over the next 20 years. But a few years into my new position, I needed a way to use my creative talents again, so I started taking classes in jewelry at the Santa Barbara adult education program. I attended night classes for 15 years and workshops on weekends when they were accessible. My plan was to open my jewelry studio when I retired. That time is NOW HERE! My first Collection was presented in California in June 2013.

As you will see in this collection, my focus is on texture and color changes using various metals and stones to accent pieces. My ceramic designs influenced some of the aesthetics. Raku and Reticulation both take advantage of heat and flame to influence the material’s pallette of colors and textures. Additions of gold with the Korean Keum-Boo technique also adds dimension to the metals in my new work. Hand dyed aluminum is another process that I am focusing on to add color and interest to my pieces. These are what I consider “paintings” that are very unique and different with every process, allowing for each jewery piece to be one-of-a-kind creations. I hope you will enjoy this collection as much as I have enjoyed producing the work.