In Seattle, summer is in full bloom. Japanese Maples, green lawns, rainbows of flowers in people’s yards and colorful hanging baskets around the city have replaced bare winter branches and indoors projects. Sitting at my jeweler’s bench I can hardly wait to be outside, work in my vegetable garden, go bike riding and fish streams I’ve thought about over winter months.
The jewelry business has been my profession for over 42 years. It’s been a career full of new with adventures, ‘Discoveries,’ interesting friendships & continual learning. I’ve seen places I’d only read about in books during my school years, met customers who have become life long friends & shared experiences doing what I love with other people who feel the same way.
Last fall I went mushroom hunting in western Oregon with friends. Finding my first wild Chanterells was awesome. They’re great eating too!
A few years ago I was in Australia shooting a documentary on opal mining. Our 3-month adventure in the opal fields gave me a real appreciation of how elusive success is trying to find “color.” I found a bit of ‘rough’ I keep as a memento of that ‘Discovery.’
(I did not find the opal in this pendant I made but making the piece brought back many memories of our trip)
On later trips to the South Pacific I got involved in Black Pearl farming. Specializing in pearls changed my focus in jewelry & re-inspired my creativity. Opening pearl oysters brings a surprise ‘Discovery’ with each shell.
From mushrooming to jewelry making to meeting new people & learning new things, each one has enriched my life and led to further ‘Discoveries.’
Today my focus is teaching jewelry making, public speaking and operating a new jewelry tools company: Paige Tools. Passing along what I’ve been lucky to have personally experienced through consulting plus helping others learn the techniques of jewelry making and sharing some of their ‘Discoveries,’ as they learn, is a reward hard to describe. www.Learn2MakeJewelry.com
We know technology makes living easier & I believe the “Joy of Discovery” helps make life worth living. Discovery is part of all art, it’s part of learning and it’s part of growing. Getting involved in something, pursuing an interest, staying curious & asking questions… that’s a Big part of living too!
What I tell students: “Invest In Yourself” …Make Something New, Learn Something New, Discover Something New.
I believe it’s what we ‘do’ that defines us.
My jewelry career began in 1970. Following college and a tour in the Army I opened a small studio in Seattle, WA where I did jewelry repair for the public and wholesale trade. I was also taking classes with the G.I.A. studying diamonds, colored stones and gem identification.
Later, I moved to a new, Seattle location and opened a traditional jewelry store, Dick Paille Jewelry, inc. Working long hours 'at-the-bench,' in the store’s manufacturing shop, managing employees, meeting with customers and what seemed like constant sales reps that stopped by made for long hours. Six day work weeks were typical. The 70’s were demanding but rewarding years in my early career where I learned the ‘business end’ of the jewelry business as well as continued to hone my bench skills.
Years later I sold the store to follow an inner call to design jewelry for a national market selling my work at trade shows, retail stores and Galleries around the country.
In 1991 a new opportunity arose and I became involved in pearl farming in the Cook Islands and started the business, South Pacific Pearls International.
Eventually my jewelry background merged with several non-jewelry interests. I formed a small film crew and we traveled to Australia to shoot a documentary on opal mining entitled "Fire Down Under: The Hunt For Australian Opal." This first project led to another documentary about pearl farming called "A Gift From Neptune: The Black Pearls Of Manihiki." The years I was traveling to the South Pacific were an exciting period in my career.
In 2003 I started Pacific Digital Studio to continue my interest in multimedia marketing and to support the talks I give on pearls and other jewelry subjects.
By 2008 I wanted to reduce my traveling and find new ways to share my career experiences with others.
That desire led to starting a jewelry school: Learn2MakeJewelry which I operate today. In 2010 I formed a company: Paige Tools to manufacture various jewelry tools. Our Torch products are the first to launch.
I’m also an avid fly fisherman, a life long amateur radio operator, wine lover and writer.