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5 questions with Sharon Berkan-Dent

Facet Winner Faerie and Swan Necklace
SharonBerkanDentIntheForgottenWoodTriptych
In the Forgotten Wood
Triptych
We're pleased to spotlight one of the winners of our MYTH AND FOLKLORE Challenge, Sharon Berkan-Dent of Midland, MI. She sent in this FAERIE AND SWAN NECKLACE, created by the lost wax method. The rectangular shape is 2" tall by 1 1/8" wide. It is cast in sterling silver and attached to a sterling chain with accent beads of jade, apatite, onyx, moonstone and iolite. 

The road to professional jewelry-making followed a varied path for this lifelong artist. After graduating from college with an art major, Sharon found a job designing posters, bookmarks, and various other items for a library system. This eventually lead to advertising, and from there to computer illustration. At the same time, she did a lot of drawing, primarily in pen & ink, participating in art fairs as well as an artists’ cooperative. Along the way, she experimented with other forms of art which eventually lead her to jewelry making. 

All of Sharon's jewelry work is made by lost wax casting, most often in silver, but when she wants to accent with a stone, the first two that come to mind are always Rainbow Moonstone and Labradorite. She's currently working on a series of Faerie themed pieces – drawings and jewelry of the same design. 
Sharon BerkanDent Studio
Sharon Berkan-Dent's studio
HOW DID YOU LEARN JEWELRY-MAKING?
I made my wedding and bridesmaid dresses which included hand-sewing many beads. I found that I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make other items. I experimented with making clothing accessories and decided to take a jewelry class to see if I could learn some techniques that would make the beads I was sewing on stay more securely. After the first class, I was hooked and never went back. I now teach lost wax casting in the same studio classroom at The Midland Center for the Arts where I took my first class.


WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU EVER GOT FROM A TEACHER OR A MENTOR?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression–finish your work well, present it professionally either in person or online, interact with potential customers the way you want to be treated, if they don’t like what they see the first time you may not get a second chance.
SharonBerkanDentIntheForgottenWoodNecklaceb
In the Forgotten Wood
Necklace
WHAT STYLE OF JEWELRY DO YOU MAKE? HAVE YOU EVER WORKED IN DIFFERENT STYLES/MEDIUMS?
I’ve dabbled in many types of artwork, other than jewelry, my other main focuses have been drawing and computer illustration. This background has served me well in designing my jewelry. Two years ago, I began studying under a highly renowned graphite (pencil) artist, Armin Mersmann. This focus has not only improved my drawing skills exponentially, but has improved my jewelry design and sculpting ability as well. I am currently experimenting with taking one design and completing it as a finished graphite drawing as well as a piece of jewelry. 

WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN ESTHETIC?
I love nature, animals, the human form and the feel of magic or mystery – these come together wonderfully in the genre of Fantasy. Sometimes I sculpt a single figure, but my favorite is when multiple design elements come together to tell a story.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK?
Often, what I’m currently working on inspires what comes next. It can be a small, technical element that to someone else would seem totally unrelated, or a major design component that I want to expand on or explore more deeply. 

WHERE CAN PEOPLE SEE MORE OF YOUR WORK?
You can purchase Sharon's work from her Etsy store, Mystic Swan and on her website, www.mysticswan.biz!

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