About The Artist & Studio
ABOUT DIANNE (The artist)
I’m sure my journey is far from unique. Most makers make…and continuously evolve. Such is the case with me.
It all began in Hawaii in 1986 when I took a Sumi-e painting class. My stepmom and sister are both very talented artists and I wanted to do something, I just wasn’t sure what. It turned out I had a natural talent for this ancient Chinese and Japanese art form.
After I moved back to the mainland I learned to knit, knot and crochet. So there I was knitting and felting bags of all shapes and sizes when the idea came to attach some beaded embellishments. They were a hit, but I loved the gems and beads so much I picked up some findings and began making beaded jewelry. I moved on to peyote (the stitch, not the psychedelic) and I designed my own patterns, made and taught a variety of beading techniques from 2007 to 2013 when I discovered metals. I learned, mostly from YouTube and books; how to solder, set, fold-form, use metal clays and otherwise manipulate metal but here was something missing…COLOR. Enter vitreous enamel, and my AHA moment.
It was like watching a movie that begins in black and white and transforms suddenly to technicolor. This girl was on fire!
I am so enamored with enamels, it’s hard to get me out of the studio…which is in my home in a rural section of Vermont where I live with my husband and two adopted 4-leggeds.
All said it’s been a journey so far, of 34 years….and I’m not done yet!
I donate regularly to Springfield Humane Society who does incredible, and at times heartbreaking work saving animals from kill shelters. They also take in abandoned pets, the neglected, abused and seniors. They provide medical treatment, training and socializing. They hold low cost spay and neuter clinics in an attempt to decrease the amount of unwanted furbabies born each day.
For many years, I've had at least 2 rescue pups whose faces have sadly changed, although the amazing, unconditional love remains the same.
I also make yearly contributions to Kurn Hattin Homes for Children and Wounded Warrior Project and on occasion, support other causes such as local GoFundMe campaigns.
Your support of Divella Designs assists me in contributing to these worthy causes.
Materials, Techniques & Shop Information
Although I do work in metalsmithing using sterling, fine silver and mixed metals, most of my current work is in vitreous enamels.
Below is some information about the materials, processes and other shop information.
Vitreous enamel, also referred to as porcelain enamel, is a finely powdered glass which is fused to a substrate by firing at temperatures of 1450°F to 1500°F.
I use pure copper sheet from which the shapes are cut, and occasionally fine silver.
The enamels I use are all unleaded and all of the jewelry is lead, nickel, and cadmium free. A variety of techniques are used to produce the magnificently unique creations from Divella Designs.
Because there are so many variables with the techniques used, no two pieces are exactly alike which gives you treasured piece of wearable art that is yours alone.
At Divella Designs I strive to minimize waste in every way I can.
- I recycle all my scraps and/or use them for testing different formulas.
- I try to make sure everything that comes into the studio can be recycled or reused.
- I use recycled and/or recyclable packaging and re-use packing material from my suppliers.
- My business/Earring cards are compostable & biodegradable.
- Because the kiln operates at such a high temperature, I have my studio processes set up in such a way that I am maximizing the time the kiln is on.
- Enamel powder is very fine and there are times when using multiple colors, some of the colors will mix. This is referred to as contaminated enamel because the color isn’t pure. Rather than throwing it away, I put all of my “contaminated” enamel powder in a special container to be used as counter-enamel on the backs of pieces.
The ear wires I use are either sterling silver or Niobium. Niobium is used in medical devices such as pacemakers. There is a minute percentage of people who cannot wear Niobium, whereas those with other metal allergies or sensitivities are fairly common. I am happy to substitute sterling silver or gold filled if that is your preference.
The gold-filled wire I use is 14/20 which means the wire has to be 1/20th 14K gold in relation to the core. Don’t confuse this with gold plated which can crack and peel. The bonding process is much different and of course, gold-filled has a much higher quantity of gold. Gold-filled wire can be bent, twisted, rolled and yes even soldered (carefully) without affecting the quality and brilliance of the gold.
The “gold” sheet I use is primarily NuGold, also known as Jewelers Brass. It has a color and shine very similar to 14K gold. The earrings below are an example of both the gold-filled ire and Nu-Gold. The beauty of it is apparent and they can both be polished to a stunning luster with a jewelry cloth!
All of the gemstones and pearls I use are genuine.
I try to source all of my materials made/mined in the U.S. and/or Fair Trade.