“It began as a concept of home. After having spent a period of my life uprooted, I found myself drawn out into nature and often back to the same places over and over again. I found a comfort and a feeling of homecoming in one particular stretch of highway between my temporary homes and the home of my sister. A truly Wisconsin valley, settled with farms and opening in a grand way as one drives down into it. It was this particular valley that sparked in me a need for my own space, both indoors and out. I needed to make something of this feeling.
I explored the gallery of my experiences, sorting through old inspirations and techniques, things I had learned in college and before. I dug into unrelated subjects, unrelated to jewelry and metal I mean, and found myself in geology. Topographic maps had unwittingly inspired me for many years, I realized. My attachment to layers, wood grain, organic patterns, mokume gane, and many other kinds of visual layering suddenly made sense. I was constantly trying to map my way through layers of my life, so I went to maps. I found the exact spot of highway that had evoked this feeling of homecoming in me, found a topographic map of the area and felt triumphant. I could see the layers of metal stacking up in my imagination, all I had to do was fill in the steps between design and finished piece. A simple and unrefined piece of map came out of that design, but so did an inundation of other, more refined ideas. I started to collect maps of places I explored, particularly of lakes and rivers that I frequented in Minnesota. These became the basis for West Grove Design, the roots of this business I started.”