We had the good fortune of connecting with Dina Goodhue and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dina, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
When I first started making jewelry, I remember friends and family being impressed that I didn’t just stop after a few weeks. I feel like that can sometimes be the usual path of action, taking a class, giving it a whorl, and putting it down.
To me, it’s something I couldn’t imagine not being apart of my life. It grounds me. Jewelry has become a piece of who I am. But at the end of the day, it lays in the passion. You know when you feel it. Regardless of what it is for, its something that drives you, excites you, moves you, and most importantly, leaves you sleepless at night thinking of ways you can continue to learn and grow.
That being said, I can’t honestly think of a time I’ve REALLY given up. From pushing through a college degree I felt like I had no place in, to moving all over the country by myself for environmental jobs. I’ve always pushed forward, even maybe when I should have stalled for a bit at certain times. It makes you a stronger person. And where would you have more regret? Giving up too early? Or pushing forward, maybe hitting failure, but you know you at least tried.
I’ve lived my life through passion. From working at music venues at a young age, moving 3,000 miles away from home to be a park ranger, and finally pursuing my dream of playing with fire to make art out of silver.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work with mostly silver, sometimes gold, and semi-precious gemstones. I take pride in all aspects of each unique piece. I do my own lapidary (stone cutting) work, so I make sure to source sustainably, or even find my own rough rock and material to frame in each sterling silver piece. I have relationships with miners throughout the west. And am a weekend geologist. Every spring, I attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral show, to keep up and continue these relationships. I move often, as I work summer seasonal environmental jobs, so I recently built out a vintage truck camper with a jewelry bench to keep up my work while on the road.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. I had many friends back home that helped push me up when I began my journey, and it quickly grew. Recently, Instagram has been changing the algorithm, and favoring those who spend lots of money on ads. So unfortunately I think the organic side of an online reach is changing. Currently I’m trying to find new ways to reach people besides social media. I’m hoping to come up with a line of wears to be carried in stores, and find other ways to market handmade jewelry in a fast paced society. I’ve learned that things don’t come easy and what you put into it, is usually what you’ll get back.
I’d mostly like the world to know how many different hats I wear in life. Jack of all trades, master of none? No, I think that we are ment to be multi faceted beings, but we are often pushed into one square box.
By summer I am an environmental surveyor. I’ve been a park ranger at Mount Whitney in CA, and Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas, NV. I’ve worked monitoring insects and disease in Idaho and throughout California. But all the while, I stop and smell the roses. Finding inspiration in the new environments from the geology to the people of the area. I take the stones in my work seriously. Often, you can find me distracted in the field with…rocks. But largely, my creative passion has driven me to always find ways to continue to make jewelry. Even in Forest Service bunkhouses, or camping on the road, I would find ways to bring my materials and passionate ideas with me. No9 Jewelry creates pieces of unique wearable art, that travel with you down life’s roads, taking inspiration from my journeys, and following you down yours.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To me, nature, food, and music/art in that order. I would say I’d start with an awesome hike, that may feature a good place to rockhound. A sweet disperse camping spot, if my friend was down to take the adventure even further. In Vermont local food was a huge staple of life. So, where ever I’ve moved, if tried to seek out the local food scene. And of course, what drove the beginning of my creative passion, music. I prefer small and intimate music joints, that maybe even feature a dive bar.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family. Even though I am thousands of miles away, I talk to my parents everyday. My grandfather was an incredible colonial antique dealer, who sparked my artistic side young. My yiayia immigrated to the US at a young age, and demonstrated perseverance and hard work. And my grandmother’s inspiring words to always reach for what I wanted for in life, drove my courage.
My friends, even though they are often far away, rather than near. I hold these relationships close to my heart. I will never forget a conversation with one of my friends before moving away from Vermont, he compared me to a wilting flower that needed to bloom in greater pastures. At that point in my life, (early/mid twenties) I felt stuck and confused. It really felt like the push I needed to see how much potential others saw in me.
To all those on the road, who have lent a hand, ear, or a creative breath. The Willamette Building in Portland, Oregon, that unlike todays world, still is a space where you can buy materials and interact with other jewelers. To all the Rock and Mineral Societies, that have offered advice and affordable lessons when it comes to lapidary and rockhounding. The Tucson Gem and Mineral show, is a jeweler’s paradise, offering a world of resources and passionate like-minded people.
Michael Stauder Dina Goodhue