Life as an Artist
A love for art is what I have always had. I have been drawing and creating as long as I can remember. My parents, George and Juanita Bandarra, being artists themselves, have always encouraged me in this avenue of expression and helped me make a career of it. Drawing was my first love and that has developed into more than I ever thought possible.
During highschool I was introduced to pen and ink art. As far as drawing, this is my favorite. I have found a unique way of expressing myself through this avenue of art. I have incorporated short poems into the drawings, as well as, peoples names. This is one thing that makes my pen and ink drawings unusual. I favor drawing faces, but have branched out into drawing plants and animals as well.
After highschool I had no idea what I was going to do as far as a career was concerned. I loved art, but trying to make a career out of that was next to impossible. I am good with numbers and assumed I would have to get a job as a secretary, or something that involved accounting. That was NOT appealing to me. Then, my dad, who is an incredible metal artist, came in contact with a jeweler. This jeweler, William Moore, carved waxes and cast jewelry. I worked with him as an apprentice for approximately one year and learned the process of mold making, wax work, and the casting process. After that, I worked for another jeweler who taught me jewelry repair, fabrication, simply stone setting, pearl stringing, and machine engraving. I was an apprentice there for about five years. After leaving Murray, Kentucky, my husband of five years, our two children, and myself ventured to Memphis, Tennessee. I worked for a local jewelry store there for about a year and learned advanced stone setting and the lost wax casting process. From there, I worked for another local store where I was able to focus more on stone setting and refinishing watches and detailed repair work.
It was in 1999, that I finally opened my own business, Tate Professional Jewelers. I started my business off very small. There were a collective group of independent jewelry businesses. They needed a jeweler to accomadate their repair needs, as well as, custom design work and stone setting. I had one room that I had ALL my equipment in , including the casting equipment! I didn't even have a sink in the area with me! The sink was in the hallway....but I made it work! By the year 2004, I was ready to have my own store independent from any other jewelry businesses. I still mainly serviced other jewelry stores with their needs which helped me have a steady income. In the meantime, I have built my own clientel of customers that use me for all their jewelry needs. I have been able to tackle most any request when it comes to repair or custom work.
As far as my pen and ink drawings, I have just recently been trying to expose my drawings to the public. I know there is a market for this type of art out there. I just have to take the time to make it accessible to people. It might take several months to complete a drawing, but the end result is a piece of art that touches everyone's soul in a unique way. Hopefully, I will get a great response and can add this aspect of art to my love for creating jewelry as well.
My jewelry business continues to grow and I am very fortunate to have the support from family, friends and other businesses to help me become successful in this particular field of art. I never thought I would be able to use my artistic talents to make a living. It is a challenging, and sometimes frustrating work, but it is definitely satisfying!