Artwork by Southwest Washington and Oregon artists.

Molly Russ Butson

Fine Jewelry

artist wearing glasses

Molly Russ Butson

Growing up in a small northern California town, I always had a love for any type of jewelry. Back in the 60s it was a trend to buy jewelry blanks that had settings for rhinestones, you chose the color of rhinestones to use and made your own jewelry. I remember being fascinated watching my mom “create” her own sparkling jewelry pieces.
I still have the birthstone butterfly pins she made me and my sister. I fell in love with sterling silver at a very young age. When I was nine, I asked for a ankle bracelet with my name engraved, that was my beginning.
I loved beads as well. I loved going into the “hippie” stores that held the intoxicating smell of incense, exotic wall hangings and the promise of beautiful beads in every shape and size.
My first silver bangle came to me in the 7th grade. It was the year I also got my ears pierced! I am still wearing that same bangle today, and my bracelets slowly became my trademark. It’s like the bell on the cat, my kids knew where I was in the store (or the pool) because of the jangle of my bracelets. I once asked them if it was annoying,and they said they wouldn’t know what to do if they didn’t hear me coming! Of course throughout these years I have maybe lost a bracelet, (blame TSA, I learned my lesson) but each of 9 bracelets I currently wear all have a story behind them.
Fast forward a few (!) years to 1998, I was browsing in a bookstore, and came upon a book entitled “Making Glass Beads”. What? I can make my own glass beads? That book was dogeared for over a year, I learned this art is actually called Lamp working, and when I was finally able to take the plunge, I purchased a few supplies, and off I went. Using a single fuel torch called a hot head, I began my journey into Lamp working (glass bead making). Soon to come was a purchase of a small kiln to anneal my lumps of glass, and an upgrade to a oxy/propane setup. In 2005 I received a Scholarship from the International Society of Glass Bead makers to attend the yearly convention.

As I continued improving my Lamp working skills, I also continued adding new skill sets to enhance my work and diversify my jewelry offerings. I ventured into torch fired enamels on copper, electro etching and embossing on copper, making cabochons in my kiln and practicing copper soldering bezels. I was hooked! I spend a lot of time working with copper soldering, lots of handmade chains really helped advance my jewelry soldering skills. Then I took the plunge, and there was no looking back… I bought my first small inventory of silver sheet, wire, tubing bezel wire and a selection of faceted precious stones. As my confidence grew, and learning by practice, practice, practice,  I increased the difficulty of my pieces. I learned how to make basket prong settings, setting marquise and pear-shaped stones, and box clasps. I perfected the art of open back step bezel settings as well.

My long journey in this wonderful world of artistry had accumulated to be part of the Broadway Gallery. I feel fortunate to be a part of this wonderful supportive group, that provides a variety of art in all shapes and sizes with something for everyone.

8 sets of earrings

Various beaded earrings

half circle silver with green glass insert

Green Silver Earrings

Silver Earrings with Amethyst beads

Silver earrings with amethyst colored beads

silver and amethyst bracelet

Beaded bracelet

multicolored glass and silver pendant

Silver pendant with multi-colored glass