Linda Shull’s path to being an independent artist could be characterized as a second career. What has remained constant in her life is her love of jewelry. As a toddler, she “loved bracelets, rings and things,” she remembers. During her 25-year career as a designer of retail stores and commercial spaces, she collected jewelry, especially vintage pieces. “I did a lot of reading on the history of pieces in my collection,” Shull says. “ I had ideas about things I wanted to make, but no time to do them.”

While traveling the world as a design consultant, in 1995 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I decided that I needed to stop putting off things I really wanted to do,” Shull says. “But I knew nothing about how to make jewelry myself.” Her husband, Glenn, taught her how to use a drill press and she felt that “power was now in my hands,” she explains.

Shull gained experience in glass at a local Los Angeles studio specializing in decorative slumped glass. “Whenever I wasn’t working at the glass company, I was firing glass in my kiln,” she says. “Finally, my husband said ‘I think you have a new job. Go out and make your art full-time.’ ” With his support, she founded Shull Design Studio ® in 2001. Today she works in a suburban Los Angeles garage/studio overlooking Santa Monica and the Pacific.

The original Mardi Gras Princess pins, so named because they contain all the colors of the Mardi Gras, were first created from found objects but progressed as Shull took classes in metalsmithing and basic jewelry techniques into glass bodies with handmade beads and expressive ceramic faces. “When one was ordered as a mastectomy doll with one breast, I knew I had a way to contribute to helping other women diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Shull. Today, a portion of the proceeds for each Mardi Gras Princess is donated to Breast Cancer Research.

Over the years her jewelry has been showcased internationally in art galleries and museum stores including Freehand Gallery in West Hollywood and the Museum of Neon Art in Downtown Los Angeles. She has been the featured jewelry artist at the Grand Central Art Center at California State University at Fullerton and is in both editions of Gerald Brommer’s Careers in Art.

Linda wants her jewelry to give people joy and amusement in their daily lives . She developed her distinctive watches with dichroic glass bands because, she says, “I was and still am a watch addict.” Her line includes the IMAGE COLLECTION which is a series of images ranging from the Mona Lisa to Gustav Klimt’s art fired into glass rings, pendants, bracelets and watches. Her LIFE SAVOR COLLECTION with it’s slogan “savor life-one flavor at a time” was created to bring a smile to your face. Shull continually experiments to her kiln-fired pieces. Her lifelong love of jewelry is a continuing story.

–Pat Worrell