“I love that I can make a piece of jewelry people can pass down through generations,” says Amie Preston, owner and artisan at OIGI Design.
Preston had a forehead-slapping moment during her first silversmith class and thought, ‘Oh, I get it!’ — and now she’s living her dream making one-of-a-kind, handcrafted wearable art to “inspire and delight.”
OIGI, pronounced Oh-gee, is the acronym for Oh-I-Get-It, what Preston calls the moment of clarity when you discover your passion. “Sometimes that moment is life-changing — a realization or an epiphany when you feel you’ve found what you want to do, what you’re meant to do,” Preston said. “Some only have to put their hand to forehead, others need a gentle tap ... sometimes it takes a big push to change directions, and the ‘It’s worth it!’ moment.”
When Preston discovered her fascination with metalworking, she had just started her 20th year as an executive for a fast-paced fitness corporation. Realizing what she truly wanted to do for the rest of her life, she left the corporate world after several years of instruction and training and now hand-forges unique silver USA-made jewelry — ”wearable art that speaks to the heart.”
Part of Preston’s dream and passion is to pass along her knowledge by teaching silversmith classes. “I love to share the experience of working with fire and metal,” she said. “When a student takes a class, I hope they walk away with more than just knowledge. I hope they walk away with their own OIGI experience.”
Preston offers private and group silversmith classes for beginners, Open Studio Time and Series One and Two for intermediate to advanced students.
But she doesn’t do it all alone. Preston credits supportive friends and family for being able to make the big shift from corporate America to designing and producing her art. “It really does take a village to sustain a small business,” she said. She now shares a studio at The Monarch with three friends and business partners — Sage Art — who all relocated from Eden to sell art together.
Along with Preston, Sage Art includes potter Barb Crosbie, expressionist painter Kate Bruce and watercolorist Susan Snyder. Preston says it’s not uncommon for someone to come into the studio and walk away with a piece of jewelry and a painting because of the harmonious nature of their art. “We just click ... our art compliments each other,” she said.
For her own art, Preston makes her handcrafted jewelry of sterling silver, turquoise and other precious metals and gemstones unique by using symbolism. “I love to create art that tells a story,” she said. An example is her own silver wedding ring with a highlighted brass nugget that she refers to as her “brass ring.” “When I married my husband Patrick Hald I really caught the brass ring” her website states. “When creating jewelry for others I try to incorporate symbolism, hoping that each piece will delight and inspire.”
Preston loves working at her studio at The Monarch with Sage Art and participating in the monthly Open Studio Night every First Friday. Their studio is also open during the Gourmet Market every Saturday.
Whether selling handcrafted jewelry, teaching classes, or creating one-of-a-kind commission pieces, Preston offers a special wish to her customers: “I hope you have several of your own beautiful OIGI moments that lead to joy and greatness!”