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About Us



The Artist’s Statement:

Sculpture can take many forms... from monuments to medallions. The skill of the hand and eye of the sculptor decides the beauty of the work. I’ve always felt that jewelry is sculpture too, just in a smaller form. Precious stones, I believe, should be set in gold as artfully carved and beautiful as the stones it holds.

From an early age, I knew I’d be an artist. I loved any kind of creativity, from figure drawings to designing and making clothes and costumes, to painting. A lot of this I owe to my mother, an amazing artist herself who nurtured my interests from day one. She made sure we always had a full art studio in our house. In college, I took a class in beginning jewelry making, and knew I’d found my career.

aboutPageImgSince then, I’ve spent my life designing jewelry - carving rings, pendants, bracelets.... in wax and casting them into gold... setting stones... making custom wedding rings and creating a line of sport fishing and sea life jewelry. Fishing  is another passion of mine that led to more creation... It was after I met and married Ken that he helped me take the gold fish pendants I’d been making to the next level.  Together, we built one of the first sport fishing collections and catalog. Our fish weddings rings continue to be our most popular designs.

In 1998 we remodeled our home. Simply wanting something unusual to decorate the entry tile led to another career almost by chance. Nothing was on the market at the time, that matched my idea, then I thought, If I could cast gold, couldn’t I cast bronze into art tile pieces?  I carved a 2 ¼ inch square design, Ken got out a big crucible, melted a pile of bronze, and there they were, my first bronze tiles gleaming in the floor between the porcelains.  A friend brought her designer to see them, who put them into a designer showcase home in La Jolla, everyone wanted to buy them, I designed more, and thus was born one of the first solid bronze tile lines. I find it to be just like jewelry - ornamental metal bringing more beauty into our lives. And all so much fun to work with!

The tile business has been a whole new world of design for me, bringing new media onto my pallet... ceramics, glass, stone.... I love it all.  The dream came true from long ago... to make a living as an artist. With wonderful people helping me, I feel very fortunate indeed.

Valerie and her husband, Ken Swink, live in Encinitas, California. They have 2 daughters.


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