I’m proud to introduce my friend and former student, Cindy Lopez. We have shared some great times in the studio, and she is an innovative and excellent designer.
Our students have made her classes some of the most popular in Wubbers University, and we look forward to having more from this talented designer.
She has only one or two openings for students, so if you live in the Houston area, I highly recommend her. You can contact her through http://www.cynthialopezdesigns.com/.
Lexi Erickson: How long have you been making jewelry? What inspired you to start making jewelry?
Cindy Lopez: I’ve been making jewelry for the last nine years. Back then I had started a new job in a large downtown law firm that required nice office attire, I noticed that one of my team members always looked sharp and it seemed that her jewelry always coordinated with her clothing which gave her a nice finished look. I complimented her once and she shared with me that a friend of hers made all her jewelry and designed it to coordinate with her “look.” I was impressed. I immediately researched jewelry making, purchased tools, beads, wire, and started designing and making jewelry for my own wardrobe. Within weeks, other people in the office noticed my jewelry and when I mentioned that I had made it, they started ordering jewelry from me for themselves and as gifts.
After a year or so I had run the gamut of manufactured findings and started creating my own one-of-a-kind findings with a chasing hammer and wire. Something about hammering that wire and forming it into a really nice simple hook and eye clasp really hooked me (no pun intended)! Then it was my first metalsmithing workshop, soldering and making bezels. I haven’t stopped since.
Tell us about your jewelry heroes, who do you admire and why do they inspire you?
There have been many artists that have inspired me – beginning with Erica Delgado in Houston, Kerstin Nichols in New Hampshire, Pauline Warg in Maine, and Barbara Becker Simon, to name a few. However, overall the most inspirational artist I have followed is Lexi Erickson. She solidified my skills in metalsmithing.
Do you have a favorite artistic quote you can share with us?
In my very first metalsmithing workshop with Erica Delgado, we were learning cleaning, soldering, sanding and finishing and she made a statement I have never forgotten. I remember it constantly while I’m working and especially when I’m tired and want to take a short cut, and that is “be particular about your work.” Another phrase I never forget is “make the back as beautiful as the front.”
If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?
I’ve been an artist since I can remember – maybe painting in watercolor or playing the violin! I absolutely love the violin, the viola, and the cello.
Do you listen to music in the studio, and if so, what kind?
Maybe I shouldn’t share this but I usually have the TV on to a favorite series so I can work and keep up with what’s going on CSI, NCIS, Katie Couric, etc.
What was your first piece?
My first bezel set piece that was actually wearable was a ring set with an azurite oval stone. It’s far from perfection but I wear it every day to remember where I started and the crazy things that happened while making it – like it stuck to the soldering pick and then fell to the cement floor. The back plate was crooked on the shank and I had to reheat and redo. I was a basket of nerves.
Well of course! I love all my hammers. Without the many weights, materials and shapes of hammers, I wouldn’t be able to complete my work.Do you have a favorite tool or tools?
Can you share your favorite jewelry making tip with us?
Use a beautiful texture wherever possible, including the back. The wearer won’t always be worried about scratching it and it “always” gets scratched.
Do you have one piece which is your favorite? Why is it your favorite? Do you have a photo to share with us?
My “planet” pendant. Several stones I had reminded me of small worlds. So it’s my favorite because it was difficult to express the vision of a planet and its moon in metal.
What’s your favorite color palette?
It seems I gravitate more to earth tones. But what is that you say? Good question. I like rock, all rock. Rock is my favorite color palette and pattern.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from your mentor?
Patience, patience, patience. Hand filing, sanding, and polishing produces the warmest if not best results. I now believe it is the best way to finish a piece. As I advance in my skills, I find myself using the flex shaft less rather than more.
Is that the same advice you would pass on to your student?
Yes, and oh yes!
What gives you the greatest joy in making jewelry?
The greatest joy is when someone treasures a piece I have made, wears it and makes it their own. I remember when I sold an especially gorgeous turquoise necklace I had actually made for myself. I was wearing it when a customer of mine saw it and said, “I want that, how much?” I quoted a rather high price because she took me off guard and I wasn’t sure I wanted to sell it. She paid me then and there! When she saw how reluctant I was to part with it she said: “Don’t worry, it’s going to have a good home and will become a family heirloom.” She made it her own.
Got any funny jewelry story to share with us?
I don’t know if this is “funny” but I think it is funny how many pieces start out with a fixed design in your head or sketch book and end up being an entirely different design by serendipity. Many times it’s a surprise!
What’s in the future for you? Would you mind sharing a few of your goals?
Making jewelry is it for me. The hammer stops here. I absolutely love working with metal and rocks. I enjoy teaching and sharing my craft and plan to do more of that. My goals are to keep learning and perfecting my skills.