Originally from Ohio, we now make our home in Lafayette, Louisiana.
In business since 2004, Paula and Jim have been creating works of art since 1999. It was at that time, we were both bitten by some kind of crazy, artistic bug, and were driven to find outlets for our creative sides.
Paula McDowell, originally a software engineer and human resources manager, began taking classes in metalworking and jewelry making. As a result, Paula's work blends a variety of traditional and non-traditional methods to create unique one-of-a-kind pieces.
Much of Paula's work is created with metal clay, developed in Japan in the early 1990's. Microscopic particles of metal are suspend in an organic binder, allowing the material to be worked like pottery clay. The fresh clay can be molded, formed, cut and impressed with textures, and once dry, the clay can be further refined and carved. The resulting piece is then fired in a kiln - where the binder is burned away, and the resulting pieces is pure metal. Traditional silver smithing methods can then be used to complete the piece.
Paula's work often incorporates organic textures and themes executed in silver, bronze, copper, steel and gold. Pearls, natural stone, glass and other metals are brought in to make unusual, artistic and fun jewelry.
Paula continues to take workshops each year to add new techniques and materials to her arsenal and to keep her creativity fresh. She is President of L'esprit du Metal, The Louisiana Chapter of the PMC Guild, and President of the Lafayette Art Association.
Jim McDowell, a chemical engineer and entrepreneur, began taking classes in glass blowing at the Michigan hot Glass Workshop in Detroit, MI. There, he discovered a love for the intense heat of the furnaces and the movement of liquefied glass.
Jim has taken workshops and practiced his art at a number of hot shops around the country: Pittsburgh Glass Center, River City Works and Neusole Glassworks in Cincinnati, OH and New Orleans Creative Glass Institute.
Jim is actively exploring fused glass creations, where a kiln is used to melt glass to itself and to form structures using molds and armatures. He creates hand made books incorporating both ancient and modern techniques. And, he is exploring the art of Encaustic, oil pigments suspended in wax worked hot onto paper.