June 09, 2024

Two Sisters

By Laura Jane Bouton
Two Sisters

I am sure you have been wondering about the next chapter in my family history blog series. I haven't forgotten, just sometimes, as a small business owner things need to be shuffled around on my to do list.

Have you figured out who this chapter is about? My sister Tracy, and little old me. My father was an only child, and my aunts didn't have children. So, it has always been Tracy and I. Consequently, no cousins either. She is older by 11 months and 2 weeks. So,  for two weeks out of the year we are the same age and she can't boss me around, lol. Can you tell which one is me in the below paintings?

 

The portraits above were done by the artist John McCelland. I think we were maybe 5 and 6 years old?  I am glad we have them, but I remember not enjoying posing for them. By the way, my sister pretty much still sits with her hand that way, palm facing upward. Portraits were also painted of my mother and her sisters by the same artist. Mom's portrait is hanging in the den.

Tracy is the sister who loved school and has a college degree and a masters degree in business management. I was the day dreamer, and not a fan of school. Just a high school diploma for me. I didn't finish college for various reasons, but that story is for another day.

 We had a lot of fun adventures growing up in Connecticut. Exploring the woods, bike riding around the neighborhood with our friends, and mom yelling out the front door when dinner was ready. You know, the good old days.

She goes head to head with my mother and aunt Cindy when it comes to swirling the home decor. It definitely runs in the family. She is also a big collector of antiques and nick nackery. She is the kind of person who just decides on the spur of the moment to paint the living room and rearrange just for fun.

Wood working is her real passion though. Her specialty is collecting old wood from barn doors or window frames  and repurposing them into folk art. She also dabbles in a little metalsmithing. 

 

 

Above is one of her creations. The frame is repurposed wood from her beloved collection of old doors, or windows. Each fish was pierce by hand with a jewelers saw, textured and riveted to the wood. We used to do art shows together. Hopefully, she will get back to doing them again. It was certainly a lot of fun doing the shows together, we always made sure our booths were next to each other.

 

My absolute favorite piece of hers is the framed mittens. Each little mitten is hand pieced, torch enameled and they hang in the handmade frame.  It is kind of like an old clothes line. Just too darling for words, naturally I snagged this one for myself.

 

She is currently working on tearing down an old outdoor shed she built a few years ago. Some of the wood is rotten so she decided to take it down and build a new one. Of course most of the wood is repurposed. I can't wait to see it finished.

 

Old shed the day of demolition, Jack, my nephew on the roof.

 

Well, what is there to say about me? If you are familiar with my work, you already know I love to make jewelry. I lived in Italy for 30 years. I spent half of my life there, because this year I will hit the big 60!!!  One thing you may not know about me is I was a spot welder for many years while living in Italy. I worked for a company that made parts for Ducati mortorcycles. I welded part of the gas tank. Did I like that job, no, it was a job that paid the bills.  However, it did teach me not to be intimidated by hard work. I also taught swimming to children at a local pool. That job I did enjoy because I like swimming. 

As for the jewelry, I started in my late forties. I was in between jobs and looking for something that I could call my own. I had no idea what that was going to be, but I knew I had to find something.  Like most jewelry artist I started with beading. I liked  it, but it was not really satisfying for me. I wanted to find something that would challenge me.

 

The Beginning

 

 When I first started making jewelry I was not planning on turning this artistic venue into a business. I was intrigued, or enchanted by the process of manipulating metal. The more I created, the more I wanted to learn about metalsmithing. Of course I was skyping my mother frequently asking her questions on how to do this or that. Does anyone remember Skype? There was no face time then. I read as many jewelry making books I could find, and I was glued to Soham Harrison on Youtube. He is the best if you are just starting out in the jewelry world.

I guess, I just felt the need to create during this time of my life when my son was grown up and I was in between jobs. It was also very empowering for me. Even today, I still find designing and creating jewelry to be very empowering. So, I made jewelry for myself, and many gifts for family members. After a while, I had a pretty good collection of jewelry. Then, I found out about Etsy. I decided to try to sell my creations online and it has been a great adventure that I am still enjoying to this day. I doubt I will ever become a famous jeweler but I do enjoy looking back at my older creations to see my progress over the years.

 Turquoise Collection

 

Every time I finish a new piece, I look at it, and I am still amazed that I made it.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself just to make sure it is true, that everyday I get to do something that I truly love. Words can't describe how grateful I am. Laura

See all current jewelry collections HERE

 

Leave a comment