A Casual Gal

I work primarily with sterling silver, and don't always have a plan for my creations, but I think that works out best, because you end up with a design that is truly unique. Each piece starts with a sheet of sterling silver and is cut, hammered, embellished, antiqued and soldered using traditional metalsmithing techniques. Although I will "duplicate" certain designs - you can be assured they will NEVER come out exactly the same!! I love custom orders, as it involves you, the customer, in the design process. Together, we can take an idea and make it into a truly inspired and one of a kind, treasured piece of art. I take pride in each piece of jewelry I create and I guarantee quality craftsmanship.Rustic, with a kind of imperfect, organic look and feel - that's the beauty of handmade. 

About Renee

My name is Renee, aka Casual Gal.

I've been married to my wonderful, supportive husband for 13 years.  I have 2 stepsons and a funny, selfish and spoiled 1/2 Lab 1/2 Aussie named Tallie.

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I haven't always been a jewelry maker.  After college, I did the "9 to 5" in banking, but it began feeling a little mundane and monotonous after 6 years.  So, feeling the need for a "fun" job, I went in to the restaurant business, and literally started at the bottom as a server assistant (aka busser!)  I moved up to server, then to server trainer, and soon found myself as the head trainer in my store and then corporate trainer.  As a corporate trainer I was able to travel and train employees of new stores opening up around the country - it was a lot of fun.

 I then had an opportunity to move to Las Vegas and wait tables in a restaurant in the Caesar's Forum Shops - great money, and I got to meet a lot of celebrities.  The best one for me was Clint Eastwood - nice, nice guy.  He is the only star I ever asked for an autograph.  He signed a napkin to me - He's a good tipper!!

Las Vegas was fun and exciting, but...

Next stop - Grand Junction, Colorado.  I've been here since 2000, met my wonderful husband, got married 13 years ago and I had the pleasure and honor of helping to raise his two boys - they were 7 and 9 when we got together - they're now in their early 20's - how time flies!

Pre Casual Gal 

It all started back in 2002, I was waiting tables, and worked the lunch shift so I could be there for the boys when they got home from school.  On a weekend trip to Ouray,Colorado, I watched a woman beading necklaces and thought I could do it as a hobby and sell them.  I set a budget of $20 a week and would spend hours at the one bead store in town deciding which beads I wanted.  This store was also an antique store, the poor boys would go with me on Saturday morning, and were bored out of their minds because I wouldn't let them touch anything, but they were so good.

I went on a beading frenzy - beads covered the kitchen table, the coffee table, the floor... I named my new company Beads & the Bear (I collected little teddy bear knick-knacks.)  I applied to have a booth at my first Holiday Festival in December 2002.  I needed a display - in comes my very talented fiance.  He actually built me a 5 foot bear!  I didn't sell much, but I sure learned alot!

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For the next few years I continued doing flea markets and small shows with my beaded jewelry and started incorporating semiprecious gemstone beads and Swarovski crystals.  I then discovered Italian Charms, and included them in my jewelry creations, and I also became a reseller for Rada Cutlery.  I really enjoyed the shows and selling my wares.  

After a lot of research on the internet, in magazines and books - I decided I wanted to try to work with sterling silver.  November 30, 2005 I purchased my first piece of SS, some solder, a plumber's torch from the hardware store and a fire brick...

Casual Gal is Born!

I am self-taught and I started my "silversmithing" career in December 2005 - in my garage - on the floor!  I melted a lot of silver on that floor.  Every now and then I would get a perfect solder seam, but I quickly learned that the plumbers torch, with it's wide flame was not the way to make jewelry.  So.....TOOLS!!  I started amassing my (needed) tool collection.  Hubby bought me a great work bench for Christmas that year and I started taking over the garage with my "stuff!" Hammers, pliers, cutters, jeweler's torch, tumbler, pickle pot, etc.

I played, struggled, got frustrated, and had some success with pieces.  I started out with just pendants.  My first designs were a play on cloisonne, I called them Patchwork Pendants, I've always loved antique quilt blocks.  I used brass shapes instead of fine silver as the pockets to hold the colored resin.  They didn't sell - in fact I still have these.

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I then tried my hand at soldering cute cast flowers and setting stones.

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 Stay Tuned!