My name is Lynn Straka, DVM. I am a mixed media jewelry artist and practicing small animal veterinarian. I began making natural and glass crystal beaded jewelry in about 2000—helping me through a tumultuous time. Jewelry-making quickly became a second vocation and I began selling my jewelry at craft shows. Ten years later, I expanded my work and began to transition from stringing beads to creating my jewelry by letter and word stamping on sterling silver and copper. I opened an Etsy shop, making and selling personalized pendant necklaces, bridal gifts and other unique pieces. At that time, I was self-taught, researching and learning technique and materials use on my own. I’ve always felt comfortable using small hand tools in these techniques, because the tools are similar to the tools I use in my veterinary surgical practice.
In 2008, my husband and I moved to East Tennessee. I had always wanted to take my jewelry art more three-dimensional and I wanted to learn to solder. I quickly realized that these techniques weren’t easily mastered by a simple video or book. I discovered Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and began taking yearly classes to develop my skills as an artist and metal worker. Having personal instruction reinforced my base knowledge and encouraged me to ask questions and trouble shoot subjects that have challenged me. I currently volunteer at Arrowmont regularly which allows me to take courses regularly from a variety of expert instructors.
The jewelry I make is adornment – created to produce joy to the wearer. Designs influenced by nature, they may evoke a memory, affirm a belief, or be an extension of the wearer’s personality.
The common denominators of my work are texture and exercise in technique. Whether it is hand stamping designs or words, forging, creating three-dimensional forms, or impressing texture onto metal, each piece has its own one-of-a-kind, individual personality. The materials I use most are sterling silver, copper, and bronze, with semiprecious stone accents. Some of the materials are recycled or repurposed metal items that I have altered and incorporated into my jewelry. Typically, they are finished with an antiqued or aged patina to highlight their texture.