We had the good fortune of connecting with Peggy Houchin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peggy, looking back, what do you think was the most difficult decision you’ve had to make?
There are more than one but when I decided to leave my full-time job at Hewlett Packard (HP) after I had been there for 26 years, it was a very difficult decision. I was getting more and more restless with my job and wanting to pursue my jewelry design career and it was a huge leap for me to leave a high paying job with all the great benefits to start my own business and begin a career as a jewelry designer/artist
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
From a young age of 5 years old, my creative journey began with my first design that sold! I designed and crafted these cute little fish from fishnet, fish eyes and beads. My mother took them to work and sold 10 of them for .50 cents each. I was hooked. However, my desire to express myself with my hands began prior to that. You see, my parents were Deaf and I was their voice. Sign language was my first language so communicating for my parents and being able to express came through my hands. They signed to me from the beginning. I didn’t know anything besides their hands. Hands were everything to me. My father was incredibly talented with his hands. He could create anything! I learned from him how to build things, fix things, repair things. He didn’t rely on his hearing but he relied on his touch. I’ve always needed to create. From there, my creative passion continued into sewing and entering competitions and even making all my own clothing. Moving to Colorado changed my life forever. Being at the base of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, living on a small ranch and riding horses was a dream come true. All the while, I continued to pursue my passion for creativity. I was so fortunate to take some silversmithing classes from an older gentleman who taught me the basics and from there I took off. I also learned lapidary from an older woman and the ideas for combining my love for these two mediums began to merge. Being close to incredible rock shows and rock hounding has cemented my love for rocks, color and jewelry design. Inlay jewelry is my passion! I feel like I’m painting with rocks. My jewelry designs can be descibed as bold, one-of-a-kind, southwestern. The inspirations for my designs come from my love for all things western, rocks and color. I get so excited when I think about the possibilities of combining stones into gorgeous jewelry. I feel like I’m painting with rocks because I work with so many different kinds of stones – dinosaur bone, Turquoise, spiny oyster, coral…you name it! Inlay jewelry is my passion and what I’m best known for. I look forward to every piece that I make. Dinosaur Bone is probably one of my favorites because of the variety of color and cell structure. Nature is sooo amazing!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to Estes Park and a drive up to Trail Ridge Road. I’d take them into downtown Loveland and visit the local galleries and restaurants. A nice drive over to Saratoga, Wyoming, if we had more time and spend the night at the Saratoga Inn and hot springs and visit Bella’s Bistro (one of my most favorite restaurants). Loveland, Colorado, is such a great town with amazing art. Lots to see and do around here. I tend to stay away from the bigger cities and head to the mountains.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are 2 people that stand out for me. One is Billie Colson who owns Independence Gallery in Loveland, CO. She has been a constant inspiration and mentor for me. She supports me and all the other artists in our gallery as well as an ambassador for artists in Loveland. The 2nd is Roy Talahaftewa who is Hopi. I was able to take 2 classes from him on the Hopi Reservation and he changed my whole thinking around my jewelry and my art. I learned so much from Roy and how to look at my art as a gift from God and never to take it for granted.
Rae Ann M. Garrett