a child, I fell in love with fixing and tinkering - hammering,
and sanding, molding and shaping, and inventing on the
family farm. Nothing escaped my curiosity. The dusty
and muddy earth, depending on the weather,
was as much a part of me as my own skin.
I loved everything tacile. This was to shape me into
who I am today. On the farm, my parents taught me
to be resourceful. For example, if you needed a tool,
you made it or fixed it. If you wanted to eat well,
you raised your own food. I was born in Chicago to
very hard working Italian parents and raised on a vegetable
farm in rural Illinois. The farm defined our family
life but in school, my love of the arts and an appreciation
of the human creative instinct inspired me to pursue a career as an
In college, my art department courses in silversmithing and pottery
were to add a
new layer to my love of the tactile and creative. I also pursued a
deep interest I had in the spiritual, attending Mass at the campus
Catholic student center every day. I knew at an early age, from my
life on the farm, and the miracles that sprang from the earth, and
the wonder of creation, that I loved God. In college, this sense of
awe deepened and I came to realize I wanted to live my life in the
midst of the Master Creator. When I completed my studies and graduated,
I entered the Glenmary Sisters, a community of Roman Catholic nuns.
Glenmary Sisters were home missionaries who worked in the southern
States. In Glenmary, my spirit opened to music, prayer, the arts,
community, the needy, the old, and the hidden parts of myself waiting
to be expressed. But what was to be an ordered and uncomplicated life,
quickly turned into a life of upheaval. The sisters were wonderful
and the life they lead idyllic, but the turmoil in the church during
the 1960's, following Vatican II, impacted the small vibrant community
so much that it could not continue to exist as it was. In 1967 the
whole community split into several factions and I left with a band
of 40 sisters to form a new lay community F.O.C.I.S.(Federation of
Communities in Service), but that's another story.
Glenmary in Ohio, I moved to a formerly Glenmary mission in Big Stone
Gap,VA, nestled in the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia.
I took a teaching position as an art teacher in the public schools
and became close friends with a number of local people. After 3yrs
of teaching I decided to launch out on my own making and selling pottery
for a living. How naive the young! But I loved it and stuck with it
and learned a great deal about clay, glazes, marketing, and myself.
In 1973 with the help of an apprentice and friends, I designed and
built a gas fired kiln and its shed, behind my small retail shop in
the town of Appalachia, VA.
During this time, I taught pottery classes in my studio as well as
at Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap. In 1978, I
tore down that kiln and rebuilt it in Big Stone Gap, VA at Christ
Hill where, with summer volunteers, we also built a pottery studio
and show room. Christ Hill was an intentional community of interdenominational
christians living together and sharing work and prayer (some former
Glenmary sisters among the mix). I also traveled far and wide selling
my pottery at craft shows, music festivals and wholesaling to stores.
Once I gave a live demo of potterymaking for a week in a large department
store in Washington, DC. The most common comment from the 5 year old
or under population, after I threw that magical slippery pot on the
wheel, was " I can do that !"
1981, with a rainbow to guide me, I moved myself and a pared-down
version of my pottery studio to Boston, leaving my beautiful kiln
behind as well the beautiful mountains and numerous dear friends.
A combination of culture shock and sticker shock were awaiting me.
But I soon made corrections and got connected to other artists. One
of my first creative adventures in Boston was to collaborate with
an artist friend. She made
tiles and I made ceramic sinks.
1984, I spent the summer in the south of France and made the life
changing decision to stop making pottery. When I returned to Boston
I took a job in a woodworking studio making cabinets and custom furniture.
This turned out to be great preparation for the work I would be doing
as a jeweler. I learned to read layout and blueprints, and precision
measurements, and the use of numerous hand and power tools. After
work hours, I stayed in the studio and made furniture and other wood
objects for my home. I was fascinated with making small wooden jewelry
components for use in making necklaces and earrings. This piqued my
memory of an old love for metalsmithing that began in college. I was
off and running, discovering Swarovski crystal, semi-precious and
precious stones, and developing several lines of jewelry. It was 1989
and Ginny Remedi Designs was born. The name, Jewels for the Journey,
came a few years later, but the journey and the jewels have always
been there with me. The name only helped me to notice that my life
has been so full of jewels in the form of people, events and gifts.
a child on the farm, and as a potter for many years, my hands became
my most useful and indispensable tool. Now a jeweler, I've learned
by way of pottery, woodworking, and metalsmithing that what an artisan
lacks in the way of professional tools, can be made up for, in expert
hands. Of course those professional tools are great for saving time
and wounded fingers, but the hand leaves a mark of distinction. Enjoy
the mark of my hand, heart and spirit in these unique pieces.