My Story

I was 9 years old when I told my parents I was going to be an actress and I was lucky enough to spend a lifetime fulfilling that dream . I changed and broadened my platform many times. From actress to director, producer and finally Artistic Director.
 Unlike, sculptures, filmmakers, writers.etc..live theatre is wonderfully beautifully spontaneous and I loved that, but it lasts only in the moment.  After 20 plus years in theatre and my children much older I was itching for a form of creativity more tangible.   So in between plays I started endless renovations in my house; refinishing floors, painting, stripping the 100-year-old staircase, tearing up linoleum, tiling etc. Then, I began in my backyard, jackhammering bamboo roots, hauling away dirt, hauling in dirt paving walkways and patios etc. With a momentary lull in home projects, I began joining my friend on her artistic projects. I experimented with mosaics, fusing glass, ceramics and garden art.  I then started making jewelry and that was my aha moment.  Just as in theatre my creative curiosity was fulfilled within the many possibilities of creating jewelry. I began in my backyard, first removing overgrown bamboo that a jackhammer had to be used to get rid of roots. Hauling away dirt, hauling in dirt paving walkways and patios etc. My husband Charles and the kids supported by staying out the way and hoping I didn’t rope them too much into my latest project.  But the thrill was the gathering of friends to oooh and aaah over the latest do it yourself project.  

"my husband and best friend for 35 years died suddenly of a massive heart attack. My world instantly changed"

"live theatre is wonderful and beautifully spontaneous. I love that, but it lasts only in the moment"

In 2012 my husband, father of our 3 children and best friend for 35 years died suddenly of a massive heart attack playing racket ball. My world instantly changed. My story is specific to who I am and universal at the same time to all who have gone through sudden death of a loved one.

The loss of intimacy and processing the world with someone who loves you, was immediate. day to day addition of chores like shopping for food, pet food, laundry, paying bills, putting gas in the car, taking the time to park for a meeting because your husband who worked from home always took you and pick you up and the list went on, was truly daunting. 

My job as artistic director of an African American Cultural Center, in a city owned facility was stressful before Charles died, but navigating the egos, drama racism, sexism and politics of my job, without my soulmate, strategist and community connected husband the job became untenable.Theatre had been my identity since I was 9 years old and now I had lost that desire. 

Slowly the healing began with sparks of creativity that of course manifested itself with an insane yearlong renovating of my home from basement to roof. with the beloved ooh and aah open house. The first I’d had since Charles’s death. Then I started making jewelry again.    

 

As a theatre artist when taught I always said I don’t teach theatre I teach creativity. That is what I value and advocate for as a philosophy.   I knew then, I would take jewelry making seriously.  I could now imagine using 50+ years of creativity in the theatre and transferring it to jewelry.  And so I did. 

"it was the meaning of the symbol that got my attention. Aya means endurance and resilience"  

When thinking of a name for my jewelry company I was inspired by my African American heritage so I decided to choose an African name.   Last year I started making jewelry with the West African Andinkra symbols imprinted on silver.  The process is very labor intensive and takes many steps to arrive at the final product.  As I was looking at the symbols I liked, one was an artistic looking fern.  The symbol’s name was AYA, but it was the meaning of the symbol that caught my attention.  AYA means, endurance and resourcefulness.  AYA is symbolic of the journey I have been on since my husband’s death.  Like the Andrinkra process, my grieving has taken many steps, none of which can be eliminated if you want to make something that makes you happy.  

 

My jewelry is created with an intentionality to make the wearer feel happy and enhanced by what I created. Your reactions to what I create inspires my imagination. With your support, Aya jewelry designs will endure the tests of time and I will continue to be resourceful in creativity and life.

 

Plain Wall

MY STORY

I was 9 years old when I told my parents I was going to be an actress and I was lucky enough to spend a lifetime fulfilling that dream . I changed and broadened my platform many times. From actress to director, dramaturge, producer and finally Artistic Director.
 

Unlike, sculptors, filmmakers, writers.etc.. live theatre is wonderfully beautifully spontaneous yet, it lasts only in the moment.  I love it, but after 20 plus years in theatre and my children much older, I was itching for a form of creativity more tangible.   So in between plays ,I started endless renovations in my house; refinishing floors, painting, stripping the 100-year-old staircase, tearing up linoleum, tiling etc. Then, I began, jackhammering bamboo roots in my backyard, hauling away dirt, hauling in dirt, paving walkways and patios etc.   

My husband Charles and the kids supported by staying out the way and hoping I didn’t rope them too much into my latest project.  But the thrill was the gathering of friends to oooh and aaah over the latest do it yourself project.   

 

With a momentary lull in home projects, I began joining my friend on her artistic endeavors.  I experimented with mosaics, fusing glass, ceramics and garden art.  I then started making jewelry and that was my "aha" moment.  Just as in theatre, my creative curiosity was fulfilled within the many possibilities of creating jewelry.   Stringing, wire work, fusing and metalworking. All the while I was purchasing more and more tools.  I discovered jewelry making is an expensive habit.  My husband Charles, ever supportive of what I do, living through my creative spurts, did ask one day how much I sold a pair of earring I made, which he saw took a week to make.  When I told him, my MBA husband, calculated I made 10 cents an hour.  But, hey, my friends loved what I made and they bought jewelry from me and i was getting lots of affirmation.   As a theatre artist, where money is not abundant, affirmation and applause is comforting payment and I continued merrily along my way.


 

" "live theatre is wonderful and beautifully spontaneous. I love that, but it lasts only in the moment" 

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"My husband and best friend for 35 years died suddenly of a massive heart attack. My world instantly changed" 

In 2012 my husband, father of our 3 children and best friend for 35 years died suddenly of a massive heart attack playing racket ball. My world instantly changed. My story is specific to who I am and universal at the same time to all who have gone through sudden death of a loved one.

The loss of intimacy and processing the world with someone who loves you, was immediate, but, the day to day addition of chores like shopping for food, walking the dog, laundry, paying bills, putting gas in the car, taking the time to park for a meeting because your husband who worked from home always took you and pick you up and the list went on, was truly daunting.

Slowly the healing began with sparks of creativity that of course manifested itself with an insane yearlong renovating of my home from basement to roof.  THEN, the beloved ooh and aah open house. The first I’d had since Charles’s death. Then I started making jewelry again.    

 My job as artistic director of an African American Cultural Center, in a city owned facility was stressful before Charles died, but navigating the egos, drama racism, sexism and politics of my job, without my soulmate, strategist and community connected husband made the job truly untenable. Theatre had been my identity since I was 9 years old and now I had lost that desire.  I knew, a fundamental change had to happen.

 

As a theatre artist, my views on teaching were "I don’t teach theatre I teach creativity".  That is what I value and advocate for as a philosophy.  So with a leap of faith, I placed 50+ years of creativity, living as a theatre artist and began transferring it toward journeying as a jewelry artist.   

"It was the meaning of the symbol that got my attention. Aya means endurance and resilience"  

When thinking of a name for my jewelry company I was inspired by my African American heritage and decided to choose an African name.   Last year I started making jewelry with the West African Adinkra symbols imprinted on silver.  The process is very labor intensive and takes many steps to arrive at the final product.  As I was looking at the symbols I liked, one was an artistic looking fern.  The symbol’s name was AYA, but it was the meaning of the symbol that caught my attention.  AYA means, endurance and resourcefulness.  AYA is symbolic of the journey I have been on since my husband’s death.  Like the Adrinkra process, my grieving has taken many steps, none of which can be eliminated if you want to make something that makes you happy.  

 

My jewelry is created with an intentionality to make the wearer feel happy and enhanced by what I created. Your reactions to what I create inspires my imagination. With your support, Aya jewelry designs will endure the tests of time and I will continue to be resourceful in creativity and life.

 

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