SPHERES IN MY LIFE . . . MY STORY . . . LINDA WORRAL-POOLE
My passion for designing and creating jewelry started in Art class when I was 14 years old. My first jewelry piece was a sterling silver ring where two silver shapes coiled around a sphere in the form of a pearl. I was intrigued with the process of using Earth’s elements metal, fire and stones to create forms to adorn the human body.
At the University of Oregon I continued my journey gaining knowledge and skills. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Secondary Art Education with an emphasis in Jewelry Design and Metal smithing.
The summer after graduating, I was hired to teach art in an Oregon high school that had a complete jewelry facility. Thus starting my 30 year career of sharing my passion for design and construction of jewelry with students. Many of my students were an inspiration. Their enthusiasm and intrigue for the process matched mine. I offered eight levels of classes so I had some students for eight semesters, their full four years of high school. My advanced students challenged me to provide complex assignments which pushed me to increase my knowledge and skills. Many of my students went on to have successful careers in various aspects of the Jewelry Industry.
My professional Jewelry Designer/Goldsmith career paralleled my teaching career. It has always been important for me to “practice what I preach”. I started selling my jewelry through galleries, stores, shows and individual custom commissions.
I continued my education during summer vacations receiving a Post Graduate degree in Art Education from Western Oregon University.
A summer of study at Ray Schow’s School of Diamond Setting refined my skills giving my jewelry pieces and class curriculum an elevated quality of aesthetics and craftsmanship.
After 30 years of teaching, I retired from education and became a store owner for 11 years. My husband and I purchased 250 South Main Inc. in Independence, Oregon. I ran a contemporary art gallery where we represented 32 Oregon artists and I was the resident Jewelry Designer/Goldsmith. I designed and crafted gold rings, pendants and charms in many forms and shapes for my customers. However, my signature line was a gem set hollow sphere cast in 14 or 18 karat yellow or white gold with a diamond, ruby, colored sapphire or Oregon sunstone suspended inside the sphere.
Bend, Oregon is now our home and business address. 250 South Main Inc. is run from my studio. I have developed my Whorlsphere line of jewelry. It is based on my “gem set hollow sphere” which is the description on my pending patent. Spheres are still a part of my life.