Though you wouldn’t think it by the mastery of her works, becoming a full-time artist has been a long time coming for Diana Ferguson, who worked in business for many years before making the switch to jeweler 10 short years ago.

“I was introduced to the Celebration of Fine Art because my husband, Kenneth Ferguson, was participating,” Diana said. “I would come in and see what was going on here. I had my degree in art history, and I had done studio art, but had never done anything with it.”

So she took a leap of faith, leaving behind a steady paycheck to pursue her journey as an artist. Her risk paid off, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. These days, Diana is a sought after jeweler who embraces bold, graphic designs. Forget the old traditions of jewelry making –– fans describe her earrings, necklaces and bracelets as fun, feminine, colorful and adventurous.

“My work has evolved tremendously,” Diana said. “I started out working with precious metals. Eventually I started working with anodized aluminum, which is a colorful, non-precious, but high-tech material. That got me interested in color.”

But it was Diana’s chance viewing of a program about origami on PBS called “Between the Folds” that really solidified the direction of her work. She parlayed her newfound interest in paper to create her “Petals to the Metal” collection, which is watercolor on paper paired with acrylic films that she makes and glazes by hand. The works are then layered over the anodized aluminum, creating chic femininity with a twist.

“I’ve had the ‘Petals to the Metal’ collection going for about eight years,” she said. “It’s totally serendipitous and has evolved into what it is today. It took a few years of trial and error, but it’s been very popular and successful for me.”

When Diana sees the world, she finds endless inspirations. She’s particularly drawn to fashion, fashion magazines and pop culture. Being a part of the Celebration of Fine Art only emphasizes the opportunity to draw new inspirations from artists and visitors.

“There are so many amazing artists here,” she said. “It’s a unique opportunity for an artist to create and put their work in front of the public and get actually feedback day to day.”

And while she relishes the dedicated time to create, Diana finds joy in seeing visitors light up when they discover the Celebration of Fine Art for themselves.

“People drive by this show often and don’t know what’s inside,” she said. “So when they do find the time to stop in, we hear, ‘We had no idea what was here!’ And the next thing we hear is, ‘We’re coming back with our friends!’”

See her story here: