Carina Rossner

Carina Rossner has been creating jewelry for eight years, but has been a rock-hound since elementary school. Geology was her passion at Harvard University, where she majore from Harvard and moved to Silicon Valley, where she spent over a decade launching emerging technologies that have changed the way we live (multi- media CD-ROMS, e-commerce, search engines). She and her husband Marc founded HybridMedia, a successful technical training company. After a couple of medical “close calls,” Carina decided to leave the world of business and return to something creative and tactile. She reconnected with her love of stones and minerals and became a compulsively creative jeweler.

Carina’s focus is incorporating earth’s beautiful creations into wearable art. She helps bring out the natural beauty of the elements and combines them in ways that are pleasing to the wearer. Her love of the stones, gems, minerals, metals, and pearls shines through each hand- made piece of jewelry in her collection.

Carina lives in Palo Alto with her two fabulous children (a mom is supposed to be vain about her kids). She is the founder of Artists in Action, a community of artists who believe in using their art to give back to society. She has also organized yearly benefits for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (Giving Thanks for the Children), Community Breast Health Project (For the Love of Mom) and the Red Cross (Spread a Little Love at Valentine’s).

Sharing my Inspiration

People viewing my work often ask how I came up with my unique designs. Or they might exclaim at the incredible variety of my pieces. Or they might comment that my pieces must each take an incredibly long time to create. My answer usually surprises and sometimes frustrates them: “They just sort of happen.”

At the beginning of my art career, while I was still trying to conquer the fundamentals of working with metals and stones, I would walk into the studio and get stressed out. I could feel my heart racing as I struggled to solder closed a bezel. I would practically stamp my feet in frustration when I had to back up wheel grits to get scratches out of a cabochon. I was impatient to be able to make the professional looking pieces I saw in the jewelry stores. Even if this was supposed to be a recreational hobby, I had to do it right!

So, of course, I messed up. Overhearing me muttering some choice words, another artist in the studio told me “there is no such thing as a mistake in art, just go with it.” Well, it being me, if I was going to mess it up, I was going to mess it up royally. So I kept ruining the piece, melting bits here and there, randomly destroying my careful symmetry and plan. My blood pressure went down, the angry haze in my eyes cleared away, and I started to have fun. Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it. – Salvador Dali

The end result was, in its own unique and somewhat bizarre way, beautiful.

That day I decided that whatever I made, however it turned out, no matter what other people thought, it was ART and it was O.K. My work wasn’t going to be like anyone else’s work. I wasn’t going to be able to reproduce it even if I tried (which also meant that I wouldn’t be “knocked off.”) My style was going to be uniquely suited to my level (or lack) of technical skill. I wasn’t going to compare my work to others or worry about how sophisticated it was. My work was just going to be the result of my having fun in the studio.Creativity takes courage. – Henri Matisse

Phew, what a relief! There went all the disappointments and frustrations. I flushed away my anxieties about meeting standards. I could enter my studio each morning with the happy thought, “I wonder what I am going to make today?” Each piece became a surprise, an unexpected gift. My art brought me joy. Expectations are premeditated resentments. – AA

Playing with precious metals and minerals isn’t cheap. Of course I had to figure out how to direct my efforts to making pieces that I could actually sell so that I could maintain my habit. I learned a lot about wearability from customers, reduced the weight of the pieces, and made sure to remove the “unintentional masectomy tool” points. Sometimes I focus on particular colors or sizes to round out my inventory. But I have been fortunate to find that there is a person who will love each piece I make. It might take a while to make that perfect match and the piece may sit in my drawer for years, but every one will find someone to love it. Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucious

Part of the thrill of being alive is being able to reinvent yourself. Enjoy!