My name is Jeanne Rhodes-Moen. I'm originally from Temple Hills, Maryland, right outside of Washington DC. I lived 14 years in Kristiansand, Norway, and have recently moved back to the USA with my daughters, Kaja, 13 and Thea 7. I now live in Asheville, NC.
In 1987, in college, I began making simple crystal and wire/bell cap jewelry because I couldn't afford to buy any of the crystal jewelry which had become popular with the coming of the New Age fad. So, I went down to the gift shop at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in DC and bought rough Arkansas quartz crystals and others for between 50 cents and a $1 each, bought wire and bead caps at a hobby shop and crazy glue ....First I made them for myself, then others became interested. I experimented more with my own style of wire wrapping and managed to make enough money for a student ticket to Norway to visit Bjørn, who would eventually become my husband for 12 years.
Bjørn had taken a course, together with his father in the 1970's , on traditional Norwegian bunad silver work. Bunad is what, in Norway, the national costumes are called. The jewelry used with these costumes is done in a style of silver filigree. Bjørn had planned to pursue jewelry as a career in life, but nothing ever came of it. When I came to visit in the summer of 1988, we drove several hours to where he had his and his father's old equipment and supplies and drove all the way back to Kristiansand and he showed me the basics.
To make a long story short, I took to it like the proverbial fish does to water! I returned to the US after several weeks and began to invest in equipment, including lapidary equipment. The first stone I ever cut was an opal! I had found a parcel of cutoffs at a local show and it inspired me to cut.
Over the years, I've taught my taught myself new techniques and developed my own style. I worked for a while at Golden Renaissance Jewellers in Waldorf, Maryland, where the owner helped me begin to move from amateur to professional by teaching me, among other things, proper polishing and finishing.
I mix both traditional Norwegian filigree and more modern techniques and materials including intarsia, inlay, and drusy. I also make other styles of jewelry and some beadwork.
I have written a how to book on this technique called 'Silver Threads, Making Wire Filigree Jewelry'. The book is published by Kalmbach Books.