Barbara A. Minz
Copper Mountain Arts
I was an art teacher for 17 years. While teaching, I taught 1st thru 12th grade art classes.
In 1986, I saw an ad in the Milwaukee Journal which listed an arts and crafts business for sale. I typed an inquiry letter and sent it off. Little did I know that letter would turn into my own business. It was scary to give up teaching and all of the benefits that went with it, but I soon found out that I could not run our business and teach too.
So in l987, I quit teaching and became a self employed business person. My husband Tom had been in his family business for years, he was a big help. With my background in art, I was quickly able to learn more about how to make jewelry, than I had learned in college. Buying the arts and crafts business gave us a customer list, supply buying list, some limited tools, a listing of art shows, and a few hours of lessons. That sent us on our way.
My designs quickly changed from the basics I was taught in my lessons, to my own designs. I found that earrings, necklaces, and rings were all favorites. At first I worked in sterling silver only, but later found that scary as it was, I needed to add 14K gold. Many customers have helped me along the way, prodding me to do things that I was hesitant about. Finally, I added bracelets, and larger pieces that could be used as slides on omega chains. It has always amazed me that people actually like my designs and will buy them.
Most recently I have started to use more unusual stones. I use mostly cabachons (flat backed) stones, semi-precious, and bezel set them. I also discovered that using both metals was interesting for both me and my customers.