If you would like to be featured here, send me an email and I will send you the list of questions/prompts.
Today's interview is with Christine Mighion:
1. A little bit about your background, where did you grow up, where do you live now, education, family, etc…
I grew up in Northern Indiana, where I now live, and received a degree in dental hygiene from Indiana University. I really wanted to go to art school, but I was raised by a very strong mother who felt that I needed to pursue a more practical and stable career. However after college, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the passion for dentistry that my patients and employer deserved.
2. What was your first work of art & how old were you?
I have no idea how old I was, but I’m sure I was born with a crayon in one hand! Ironically, one of my first memories as a very young child was sitting on the floor watching one of the holiday parades in Hawaii on TV. I remember coloring multiple pictures of my interpretation of Hawaii and telling my mother that I thought we should move there.
It was pretty quiet where I lived, so like many teenage girls I spent a lot of time with my friends. If I wasn’t with them, I was on the phone with them or doing something creative in my room. Of course, I was self absorbed and in and out of “true love” throughout my high school years. Summers were fun though. We spent a lot of time going up to Lake Michigan during the day and roaming around Notre Dame at night when it was quiet.
4. What and when was your first job?
My first paid job was as an assistant to the owner of a driver’s education company when I was 17. I was in the class and he thought I was responsible, so I began helping grade papers and that turned into a short lived job for the summer.
5. What was your first work that really pleased you as an artist?
I drew a self portrait in college for one of my art classes that I was really proud of. I didn’t quite follow the “rules” given to us at the time and it had a finished but unfinished feel about it. The instructor asked to keep it and make a slide out of it for his class and I never went to pick up the piece once it was done.
In jewelry, I created a ring about a year after taking my first metalsmithing course that I just loved. It had a lovely purple lepidolite stone and I had rolled a botanical print into the silver band. I added several gold accents and oxidized the entire piece. It was my first true labor of love.
I went back into dental hygiene when my daughter was very young and I wanted to spend more time with her. My mother’s plan for me wasn’t so bad after all, because at the time I was working 50 hours as a director for a non-profit, assisting persons with developmental disabilities and so stressed. I was able to cut my hours to 24 when I went back into dentistry and make more money than I was previously while spending time with my daughter. I also ended up meeting my now wonderful husband who worked in the office across the hall. I ended up breaking my tailbone during the delivery of our son and couldn’t sit for long periods of time on anything other than a donut for years. My husband was eager for me to come back in the office in some capacity, but he said he would wait until our son went school. I took a metalsmithing class at our local museum and was immediately hooked! Within six months of that first class, I was selling my jewelry at a local shop and my new goal was to make more money creating jewelry and doing something I truly loved than I ever could in dentistry. By the time my son went to kindergarten, I had done just that and my husband knew I would be miserable if I had to come back into the office. Now I’m just his consultant, I guess you could say.
8. How has your work changed?
When I began, I felt like I was struggling to fit this image of what I thought an artist should be. I wanted to make more complex pieces and I was very influenced by nature, botanical forms, and strong contrasts. I began to realize that although I liked the work I was producing, I didn’t find it something I could wear on a day to day basis. The more I played with gold, the more simplified my pieces became. I made jewelry I loved and would personally want to wear. I wanted the stone to be the focus and the gold to be a quiet compliment.
9. What things do you not like to do?
Repetitive work! Shortly after landing a few good wholesale accounts, I found out I didn’t enjoy making too many pieces more than a couple of times unless they were super easy. I didn’t feel the same love for each piece as I did creating something new, so I ended up closing my wholesale accounts in order to continue to enjoy my work.
10. Most significant project or accomplishment?
I think my most significant accomplishment lies in the philanthropy arm of my business. Although, I donate a portion of the profits from every piece of jewelry sold as a regular practice, it was amazing to partner with Lucky Magazine and raise nearly $10k for the Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn, NY over just a couple of months with the sale of my Gentle Waves Ring Set. Writing that check to them truly felt like nothing else I have ever done and I knew it would help so many kids.
11. What are your goals?
My goals now are much more simple than they used to be. Really, I just want to make work that I love and that feels very authentic to who I am in the moment. I want to continue to fabricate each piece of jewelry myself and connect with my customers directly. I want to continue to have freedom to travel, work when I want, and be mom once my children are home from school.
Long term, I’m hoping to move back to Hawaii or some place tropical and exotic where I can have a small studio and participate in hands on volunteer work geared towards protecting our marine environment.
12. What toys do you have?
Malibu wake boarding boat, stand up paddle board, and a kayak. Unfortunately, I tore both of my shoulders and can’t play with my toys. I can still scuba dive though and we have a new GoPro to play with on our next trip back to Maui.
13. What do you eat?
What don’t I eat should be the question! Homemade cappuccino and some sort of sweet treat daily. I eat mostly vegetarian as a preference, and a lot of Greek food since I’m married to a Greek. My diet is all over the place. Sometimes super clean and healthy, and then at other times it’s all comfort food.
TV - Big Bang Theory, America Unearthed, Ancient Aliens, Long Island Medium, and HGTV’s Hawaii Life.
Movies - I rarely see a movie anymore because most of them are too stressful for me to handle. I did see and love The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I also like really bad old horror movies like The Blob. I love Monty Pythons movies as well, but I love movies and books that make you take an inventory of how you’re living your life such as I AM and Eat, Pray, Love.
14. Do you believe in magic?
Yes, and I practice it as well. I believe everyone can and does create their reality and I’ve manifested so many things I’ve dreamed of over the years. I’ve always been very sensitive to what others call “unseen energies” and as a child I was fascinated with life after death and mediumship. This curiosity and my sensitivity grew as an adult, and it continues to be a passion for me today. Currently, I’m in a year long apprenticeship for Contemporary Shamanism. How’s that for a surprise?
15. Should there be censorship?
No, but I do believe that children should grow up in a supportive and nurturing environment where they feel safe and loved. I think that the focus on violence in our programing and media is unhealthy at best.
16. What advice would you give to others?
Find your voice in all that you do. Be who you are and don’t be afraid to do things your way. Take risks. Explore life outside your boundaries and take time to be curious each day.
My work can be seen in various national and international fashion and lifestyle magazines such as SELF, Lucky, Vogue, Parents, People StyleWatch, The Knot, and Shape.