By Tine Roycroft
Jewelry designer and instructor Ashley Vick is as talented as she is business-savvy. Not only do her necklaces, earrings and other creations give any accessory fanatic heart palpitations, but at 27, she’s running her own online business, Filomena DeMarco Jewelry, teaching at the Worcester Center for Crafts, and showcasing her pieces at every fair possible…all without breaking a sweat.
And interestingly enough, just like Lucy of Narnia, Vick’s great journey to where she is today started with a mysterious, magical wardrobe.
Starting at a very young age, Vick signed up for a variety of art classes at Rhode Island School of Design. She tried her hand at everything from ceramics to fashion design and loved it all. A career in the arts was most likely in her future, but a visit to her grandmother’s helped further cement that destiny.
“I was at her house and she has this cedar closet in her basement. All of my great-grandmother’s belongings are in there,” Vick remembers. “One day, I went down there and started going through everything. My great-grandmother (Filomena DeMarco) was born in the year 1900 and owned her own ice cream business in Providence, Rhode Island and was just a very successful business woman. I just feel that I have this very strong spiritual connection with her.”
Vick earned her BFA in metals from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and starting using the techniques of electro-forming, lost wax casting and various methods of fabrication. Vick is quick to say that everything she does is inspired by her great-grandmother, but she also takes inspiration from forms and colors found in nature, as well as from her trips abroad. All of Vick’s pieces are handcrafted using sterling silver or gold and are often accented with natural gemstones. And yes, Vick admits there have been a few pieces that she has created which were just too fabulous to sell to the public.
“My whole senior thesis project ~ I couldn’t sell the pieces from that!” she says. “I had an opening with those works and someone wanted to buy them and I just couldn’t part with them. They were too personal and I loved them too much.”
Teaching also came very naturally to this maven of metalsmithing. Vick had assisted some of her college professors with their classes and she also gave private lessons in jewelry making. When Vick heard of an opening at the Worcester Center for Crafts, it was no surprise that a good friend encouraged her to apply. Today, she teaches classes including Introduction to Metals and Independent Explorations in Jewelry.
“I always try to explain to the student that it takes years to perfect the art,” Vick says. “I start them out with the basics of metalsmithing because you need to learn the craft before you can actually come up with an idea and make it. But I love helping people learn and helping them create really wonderful concepts that they can actually make.”
Vick’s future is sparkly and bright and she has her eyes set on a glorious prize. She’d like to have her own store with a gallery where she could support other artists and have a place for them to sell their work.
For more info, go to www.filomenademarcojewelry.com.
Photos by Teagan Rosendahl