Moving to the beach in 1996 had a profound effect on my artistic style.  Walking along the water's edge in my new  home turned up all kinds of colorful seashells.  I was mesmerized by the sea urchins that washed up- the color variations and precise geometry drew me to use them in my work. 

I grew up in Baltimore, and went to college at Towson State University to study art.  Fortunately, they had an excellent metals studio, and I spent 5 years in the Towson studio working on my Bachelor's degree in art, as well as taking a business minor.

Before I graduated I was approached by a goldsmith in Frederick, Maryland who was seeking an apprentice.  I worked in his studio for a year and acquired valuable experience.  During this time I took several workshops at regional craft schools to work on specific skills such as fabrication and stone setting.

Soon I was ready to get out on my own, and create my own designs.  I took on a series of part time waitress jobs to pay my way by working at night, so that I could practice metals technique during the day.  A happy circumstance of that journey was meeting Rick, my husband and business partner.  He was the sous chef at the restaurant where we met, and is still a fabulous cook.   Cooking together is one of our favorite pastimes.

When we got married in 2001, I took on the challenge of teaching my first student- my new husband.  Rick learned the trade quickly and now produces half of the work that we design together in our studio.

We love walking the sands of Indian Harbour Beach, collecting the lovely things the Atlantic brings to us.  Rick and I currently travel to art festivals around the country to share our jewelry with you.




Instagram:  @urchinjewel



Barbara Umbel