Following in her father's footsteps...
Portland, Oregon-based jewelry designer Andrea Wysocki initially planned on a career in business. But as her first year of college drew to a close, she couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right.
Changing course... radically... she decided to give art school a try.
"Thankfully", she says with a grin, "my parents were supportive of that.”
Two months later, Andrea walked through the doors of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with a brand new goal: designing and making jewelry.
“Once I got the hang of it? I was completely hooked.”
Initially, she started out designing complex gallery pieces that highlighted several different -- and difficult -- techniques all at once.
“Today”, she says, “I definitely have a much more simple approach, but remain very proud of those works of art.”
At one point, I also tried welding. I figured I loved working with metal, maybe I would like that too. I ended up not liking it at all! Working on a large scale just wasn't for me.
“It felt like home right away.”
So says the Vancouver-born, former longtime Northern Californian on her recent move back to the Pacific Northwest. (The area seems to be having that effect on a lot of people these days.)
“I think it must be that Portland is similar to Canada", Andrea says. "Not just the weather and greenery, but because there's more of a small town feel here as compared to the Bay Area.”
Visiting friends + family can always expect a jaunt to the eclectic Pearl and Alphabet districts. Home to some of the city’s best known restaurants, art galleries and boutiques, what was once a neglected corridor of abandoned downtown warehouses has now become a poster child for thoughtful urban renaissance.
And to Andrea, a perfect example of Portland's charms: "I love all the independent shops."
Quietly, she adds: "And the small city feel."