We are honored to introduce Diana Autagne Casabar, from Keller, Texas. Diana is a Master Certified Instructor for Wubbers University and the owner of Diana’s Mettle Jewelry. We met several years ago and I was so impressed with her jewelry and techniques that I just had to ask her to become a part of Wubbers U. Though we are all taken with her charm and bubbly personality, it’s her work that makes the real statement. Please read her most interesting interview, and check out her website and visit her Etsy shop.
Lexi Erickson: How long have you been making jewelry?
Diana Casabar: I’ve been making jewelry since the week before my first child was born, which was almost exactly 18 years ago. I remember this, because I had false labor pains during my lesson, and he’s turning 18 in September!
Who inspires you and why?
Right now, I’m inspired by Valentin Yotkov and Tom Herman. Their work is
exquisite, masterful, organic, unreproducible.
What’s on your jeweler’s bench right now?
I’m applying the patina and polish to a set of tuxedo buttons and french cuff links.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I love Victoria Lansford’s quote “Artwork is passion made visible”.
What are your top three favorite tools?
My chasing and repousse tools, my pitch pot, and my torch!!
Do you listen to music while you are designing, and if so, what’s playing in your studio now?
Oh, yes, I listen to music. It is the rhythm to my hammer, or my saw blade, or my pencil on my sketchbook! Music is everything! Right now I’m listening to Rodrigo y Gabriela because I’m excited to be finishing my tux accessories. But usually I listen to the New Age or Chill station on Slacker.
What was the first piece you made?
I made a sterling button for an Ndbele necklace I stitched with seed beads. It had a turquoise, malachite, sugilite and lapis inlay donut that I bought at the local rock shop. I used the button as the clasp.
What was the one that got away, jewelry-wise?
Well, I sold the chased sunflower cuff that I loved to wear. (It’s the picture on my About page, on my website and shown at left.) But I sold it to an artist friend. She paints flowers in a way I’ve never seen before, and most of her flowers are sunflowers. So she totally deserves it. And if I ever miss it, I can just go visit her, and it!
What’s your color palette?
I love purples and greens together. But my favorite color is sunset-pinky-orange. Can you see it?!
What’s your favorite gemstone?
Well, I love to wear moonstone, but I love to work with topaz. The range of colors is fun to work with. And I love turquoise ~ everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a turqaholic. And I love rutilated quartz. And…. hahaha ~ I love them all!
What do you do for relaxation?
To relax and unwind from the bench? I read novels to escape. But to actually, physically relax my body from the rigors of the bench, I practice taekwondo with my family.
Do you have a studio mascot, like a family pet who loves to be with you in the studio?
Yes, our beloved Luna is a rescue dog, and she guards my door and listens to me while I work. She’s my sweetie pie.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from your mentor?
Marilyn O’Hara is my mentor and the best piece of advice I have received from her is that we all make mistakes. But it’s the true master of metal who knows how to fix it and make that mistake work for you.
Is that the same advice you would pass on to a student?
Oh, yes, definitely. It really changed the way I perceived my successes.
What gives you the greatest joy in making jewelry?
I love it when I have just finished the piece and I sit back in my chair and really look at it for the first time, and I realize that what I drew on paper, or what I had in my head, has actually come to fruition. That is a glorious moment for me.
Throughout history, jewelry has been assigned a status, for example, it shows wealth, political power, employment, marriage status, spirituality, etc. Do you feel your jewelry has any type symbolism?
Oh, I really hope it has symbolism for my clients, because it does for me. As I make my jewelry, I try to imbue into it a feeling of empowerment, strength, peace. Thich Nhat Hahn’s book Peace is Every Step has a chapter called The Dandelion Has My Smile. That’s the source of my wish to fill each piece with empowerment. And that’s the source of my inspiration to make my dandelion set.
What’s in the future for you?
I want to keep making my chased and repoussed flowers into jewelry and vessels, because I want everyone to know me as The Flower Lady. But I also want to teach. I want to pass on to others this wonderful gift that I’ve learned from my instructors. I want to keep the tradition going. It’s so fulfilling.
Do you have a favorite bench tip you would please share with our readers?
I like to use q-tips to polish tight spots. I cut off the fluff part and put the stick in my Dremel, coat it with my polish, and boom, I’m in those small, tight spots, making them glisten and shine!
Diana Casabar online:
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