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Laurie Kollins
My interest in art began when I was doing murals on my mother's walls at the age of three. After that I was encouraged to do drawings of my grandmother and aunts for their entertainment. I always considered my art as a past time until I retired to Mountain Home in 2002 from Chicago. The Ozarks was my choice where to retire because of good memories from past visits - seeing and watching artisans do their magic on wood, clay, glass, etc . I joined the Apple Blossom Decorative Painters group here in Mountain Home which was a huge experience for me as I learned about using the different mediums with a great group of people with shared interest. In Mountain Home I had the opportunity
to study under the direction of Phyllis Bailey, art instructor at Arkansas State University .

Because I believe that everybody has artistic talents in them, whether is be cooking, quilting, or writing, but sometimes don't have that faith in themselves, I'll give a class to my friends and neighbors. We have painted on rocks, stepping stones and feathers and I love seeing the amazed looks
on their faces when they finish a project.
I guess I am the type of person that gets tired of doing the same things and although I was winning ribbons for some of my watercolors and painted turkey feathers there was something missing. I found myself admiring the silversmith artists at the different fairs in neighboring counties and the idea of building around a beautiful cabochon or polished stone excited me. Also my family and significant other told me that I should be investing in Gold or Silver so here was my reasoning for turning another corner.

I quickly discovered that there where no schools in our area who taught metal working but on the internet I found a gentleman who provided silversmith classes on DVDs for beginners. Then, not too long ago I had the privilege of meeting and talking with Marj Paik, who at 102 is still interested in silversmithing right here in North Central Arkansas. I don't know of any other woman doing this in our area and if there are I would love to meet them.

When I began doing this, silver was at $13.00 a troy ounce, but today silver has risen quite a bit and will continue to do so. As gold will be too expensive for some of us to purchase my thought is that anyone buying my original creations are not only wearing a one of a kind polished stone but also making an investment in fine silver. I welcome special orders to accommodate bridal parties, mothers, and that special person in your life at special prices using your stone or mine. While I was associated with the ABDP group we began a Rural Art Teachers' Fund to assist the teachers. A whole lot of these dedicated teachers are paying out of pocket for art supplies for their students therefore I continue to donate a portion of my sales to this fund.

I hope to be doing this for a long time as the ideas keeping coming night after night.... Here is my passion....
Laurie Kollins, Mountain Home, AR, lauriekdesigns@suddenlink.net
AMBER wrapped in copper and silver. CRAVED AMBER set
in .925 silver
ARKANSAS DRUZY set in
Sterling Silver
CIRCUS ELEPHANT Shark tooth fossil wrapped in .999 copper
and pearls
LIGHT HEARTED in .925 silver, crystal and
garnet beads
LILLIES Earrings in Fine Silver
MOUNTAIN VIEW Agate
in .925, 14k GF
Petrified Wood wrapped in 14k GF and Copper, Chrysocola with Raw Copper wrapped in .999 copper
WILD HORSES cabs..925,Moonstone and Garnet Beads
OPAL with .925 bezel
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