Technically I have been making jewelry since I was about 8 years old. It was the 60’s and I made strands of “love beads” for my older sister and my friends. I tried my hand at many different activities growing up…drawing, painting, sewing, embroidery and cross-stitch to name a few. In the late 90’s I came back to making jewelry by stringing beads. I didn’t know how to complete my pieces, but in my obsession I made 60 necklaces. I finally dragged my husband up to the Bead and Button Show so I could take a class in making closures for my necklaces. I continued stringing beads and in May 2005, one of my designs was on the cover of Bead Style magazine.
I continued to take classes in beading but longed to work in metal. I was overwhelmed with the idea of working with sheet metal and all the tools it required. When I found a class for metal clay at my local bead store it seemed like a great alternative. I still remember how amazed I was when I burnished my first piece….it really was silver. Imagine Tom Hanks in Castaway when he yells…”I have made fire”. That’s how I was with this first piece of silver….”I have made silver!!!” I had to take more metal clay classes.
I dabbled in silver metal clay until 2008 when I got my hands on bronze metal clay and the rest…. is history. In bronze I feel like I’ve really found my voice …ancient, earthy, and tribal. I’ve since studied ancient languages and tribal art from Africa, Mesopotamia, and Meso-America and have had bronze pieces in 3 books: Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop: Combining Sheet, Clay, Mesh, Wire & More, Bronze Metal Clay: Explore a New Material with 35 Projects and New Directions: Powder Metallurgy in a Sheet Metal World. I’ve also been included in 2 on-line exhibitions and had a piece in the 2012 Art and Design of Metal Clay calendar.
From metal clay it was a short hop to working in sheet metal. I am just starting this journey and have worked with bronze, brass, and copper sheet so far. My goal is to make my work a blend of sheet metal and metal clay.
I exhibit at art fairs and galleries in the Cleveland area and I have pieces on exhibit in Scotland. I teach classes in metal clay, metal fabrication, metal etching, and creating texture plates for metal clay. This past year I co-taught classes at the Bead and Button show. You can read about all that I do at gaillannum.blogspot.com and see my work at gaillannum.etsy.com