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Work for Janine Hegy has been solid for the past nine years in Carlsborg.
The certified drystone mason is a Jill-of-all-trades building on her roots in jewelry to include stone installations and design and sandblasting.
“I feel blessed I can do this level of work and make my house payment,” she said.
Hegy remembers her early days as a businesswoman and artist by baking clay vases in her mother’s apartment in Boulder, Colo.
To pay for supplies, she sold flower arrangements, going apartment to apartment at age 17 before shortly thereafter beginning a construction cleaning business despite no skills or experience.
At 19, she visited Indonesia and returned with the inspiration to upstart her original jewelry business Nina Designs.
“I learned quickly with entrepreneurial skills, I could do whatever I wanted,” Hegy said.
And that’s what she’s done.
She continues to do jewelry today, which led into rock design pursuits in the early 1990s.
“Somewhere in that time I wanted to be outside more,” she said. “I learned from a group of friends how to garden and build stone walls.”
Her jewelry making skills weren’t fruitless though, Hegy said, and helped segue from one interest to another.
“The skills transfer,” she said.
“Once I’m on the saw, it doesn’t matter what you are cutting.”
Through the years, Hegy learned a number of artistic methods with stone — dry stack walls, making patios and stairs, carving letters and sandblasting.
She attributes a lot of her knowledge to her main mentor Nathan Blackwell who carved all 17,000-plus letters in the Ronald Reagan memorial.
Based out of Los Angeles, Blackwell made some of Hegy’s chisels, which she uses daily.
She also receives mentoring from Patrick McGuffy and Dale Jung, master carvers in their own right.
Whether designing for necklace or a full-scale stone garden structure, Hegy said her eyes work with huge or small stone pieces.
“That’s either a six inch by a foot slab or a three-to-five-man rock,” she said.
“I like things that are useful and in a garden. I know the places you’d like things.”
One of her many pieces includes custom benches using yew, a hardwood from around the peninsula.
She said it’s sought after for making bows and she receives phone calls from people who find it.
“They know I’ll treat something with respect,” Hegy said.
She stores it for a few years and shapes the wood with stone to make it “more warm to sit on” or use.
Having a number of projects in the pot at once isn’t uncommon for Hegy, particularly her jewelry.
Her shop has multiple stations for her different work.
For printmaking, she has a station for printing black and white art onto metal sheets used for computer motherboards as an acid etch.
She has a mobile sandblasting unit that works well with hard rock, but if the project has a softer feel, she can carve it by hand.
Rock carving is something she picked up a few years ago. Hegy works on it daily, most recently on limestone projects with different designs and creatures.
In some of her other artistic endeavors she combines metal, pearls and sapphires with her rock art as a new form of mixed media.
Word of mouth
Even though Hegy’s business isn’t listed in the phone book or online, people seem to find and love her work.
At the Sequim Studio Tour during Sequim Lavender Weekend, she said her first visitor saw a sandblasted piece she made for her sister that had fallen over and cracked.
“The split didn’t bother them,” she said. “They commissioned me to make one for them and oddly enough so did the next visitors. I was going to pick it up a few weeks before and put it away, too.”
She hosted about 200 people at the tour and people tended to comment on different works.
“It’s interesting to see what people are attracted to,” she said.
Hegy’s jewelry and stone work is found in Blue Whole Gallery, Wild Birds Unlimited, at the Studio Tour and by private appointment. Another of her ongoing projects is engraving bricks for Forks High School and Jefferson Elementary School in Port Angeles.
Most of her work is by commission and word of mouth through local rock businesses.
Contact Hegy at 477-5885.