Nancy Giordano is one of those crafty individuals who never runs out of ideas for beautiful, unique items, whether she's turning a pair of old blue jeans into an apron or stitching a colorful piece of fabric into an "on the go" purse.
She paints rocks, embellishes clothing with beads and creates magnets, but finds the most joy in jewelry making.
"I love many types of hobbies, but designing and making jewelry is definitely my passion," she said.
She explains the strange circumstances that led to her favorite hobby. One day she woke up, stepped out of bed and said, "I have to start making jewelry." She may have been sleeping soundly, but her subconscious mind was obviously hard at work
"It's kind of weird, but that's the truth," she explained.
At the time she worked in a cardiologist's office and when she began wearing her jewelry to work, the necklaces, bracelets and earrings caught the eyes of co-workers and pharmaceutical reps.
"Before you knew it, the ladies were ordering things from me left and right and I started making more and more pieces."
Nancy and her husband lived in New Jersey at the time, but fell in love with the Western Slope when they came to Colorado to visit her parents in Grand Junction. They also moved to Grand Junction and about a year later found a "lovely" place in Austin with an apartment that's now Nancy's studio. A spacious open area allows Nancy to offer classes for adults and for young girls (think birthday parties). In advance of the class, she assembles kits that are easy to put together and leave lots of time for socializing and, for the adults, a glass of wine.
She also provides free bridal consultations, where she suggests jewelry designs based on the neckline of the bride's gown and the bride's personal tastes.
"I hardly ever follow any type of pattern," she said of all her work. "I just love to make my own creations and designs."
Women often find a necklace or bracelet they like, but would prefer it in a different color. "I'll show them some beads in that color and pretty soon we'll have a whole new design made up."
One of her favorite challenges is taking vintage or heirloom pieces, like Grandma's strand of pearls, and reassembling the findings into a piece of jewelry that's more reflective of the owner's tastes. "Most people who know me will leave the design to my discretion, because they like what I do," she said.
Nancy works with only the finest beads, Swarovski crystals, glass pearls, chez glass and genuine fresh water pearls to produce jewelry that's of the highest quality, but still affordably priced. She uses semi-precious stones only occasionally, to keep the prices of her jewelry within reach.
Her distinct, diverse technique lends itself to all types of jewelry, from anklets to lanyards that support a special cause, such as the breast cancer awareness lanyards still worn by many of her former co-workers at Delta County Memorial Hospital.
"It's neat to walk into the hospital and see people wearing my lanyards or my jewelry," she said.
She gives names to all her pieces and while she doesn't like to make repeats -- because she has so many new designs crowding her mind -- there are a few she's made over and over again because they're so popular.
Like any avid collector, Nancy always keeps an eye out for unusual beads wherever she travels. When she gets home she places her new purchases in a box, along with complementary beads from what she's got on hand. These are her "masterpieces to be." While she may not open the box for several months, the vision she has for the components remains fresh. Once she has a plan in mind, she said, it never leaves her mind.
Sometimes people provide a focal piece themselves -- like a butterfly or other symbol that's meaningful to them -- and tell Nancy to "go for it." She especially enjoys making whole sets -- necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Nancy was amazed, and flattered, when one such set went for $720 at a fundraiser in Aspen. But that was Aspen and it was for a good cause.
The prices are far more reasonable at 4th and Main Mercantile, where Nancy's jewelry, painted rocks and cloth purses are marketed under the name "Nancy's Fancies." Nancy also has a Facebook page under nanciesfancies27.