NASGA’s Meet the Member Interview- Wendy Garver, Silverwhimsies Jewelry
Wendy Garver is the owner of Silverwhimsies Jewelry. She is very passionate about creating unique and special pieces for people who want something a little bit different. If we had to describe her jewelry we would say it’s very organic. Leaving the sea glass in its original sea tumbled state is essential to how she designs her jewelry. Unlike gems and cabochons, sea glass has little nooks and crannies that the bezel folds in to creating uneven, gnarly shapes. Another important element in her jewelry designs is the use of scrap silver. She melts down whatever scrap silver she has then she hammers, flattens and shapes the silver so it echo’s the lines of the sea glass. She never knows what she’s going to end up with until the piece is finished. Each piece of Silverwhimsies Jewelry is one of a kind.
Q: How did you learn about NASGA, and how long have you been a member of the association?
A: Rebecca Ruger of Glassing Magazine was following me on Instagram and she contacted me to tell me about NASGA. I was just starting out with my business and knew nothing about NASGA but I applied and happily I was accepted. That was 2 years ago!
Q: Can you share your personal sea glass story, or how you discovered and developed a passion for tumbled treasures?
A: My sister gave me a jar full of sea glass that she had collected from around the world. I was learning about bezeling stones and thought I’d give bezeling a piece of the sea glass s try. I loved the final product! I realized that I much preferred the organic shapes to the very defined cabochons. I never could color inside the lines.
Q: Please tell us about your particular craft or skill, such as tools and techniques, training and experience, and how your product or skill has evolved or changed over time.
A: I took a Metalsmith class at our local college and fell in love. I experimented with copper in class and then moved on to sterling silver which is my metal of choice. Fusing the silver is a major part of my designs. This technique is very unpredictable and takes some practice but the results are as organic as the sea glass. Nothing goes to waste at my bench. My silver scrap box is my go to destination when I’m starting a piece which I then fuse to new, virgin silver. The end result is a recycled piece of jewelry.
Q: Are you also a sea glass collector (or do you solely enjoy working on your craft or skill)? If you are a collector, can you tell us about your collection, and is difficult to part with some of your creations or favorite pieces?
A: I collect sea glass to make my jewelry.
Q: Can you share some of the joys and challenges of your business and craft?
A: I love doing shows throughout the year. The feedback is very important to me, it’s my fuel. Keeping track of my inventory is my biggest challenge but I’m developing a system to track what sells at different shows. Square has a fantastic inventory system and I highly recommend it. The initial input of your inventory is a daunting task but from then on you just add what you make each day. Now when I sell a piece I can pull up the inventory number on my ipad and Square does the rest. It’s full of reports and it allows you to track your business. I love it!
Q: How does your NASGA membership benefit you professionally and/or personally?
A: Having the NASGA logo on my website has brought me many customers. I think it gives the artist credibility and assures the customer that I deal with only real sea glass.
Q: Do you plan to exhibit at the upcoming festival in Wildwood, New Jersey, and is there a particular NASGA festival that stands out as a favorite, or a memorable experience associated with a previous NASGA festival?
A: I have applied and hope to be at Wildwood in the fall. Last year in Ocean City, Maryland was my first NASGA show and it was a great success. I loved being able to meet so many talented artist and meet the brains behind the operation. Loved it!
Q: Can you tell us about some of your other interests or hobbies?
A: I’m a workalcoholic and spend most day light hours at my bench. I have a crazy 4 year old yellow lab that requires a whole lot of attention which I love being able to provide. Working from home has so many benefits, that being one of them.
Q: How can the public learn more about your craft or skill, inquire about your calendar (upcoming exhibits or events), and/or contact you if desired?
A: I keep my website up to date with shows that I participate in. It also has the “about” page that fills in the gaps and my contact information is available there as well.