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Former racing dog trainer embraces jewelry artistry

April 15, 2018

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — The jewelry artist has now moved on from his days as a racing dog trainer, and people outside the racing world are discovering his creations. He is selling his items on Facebook to people throughout America and other countries.

Most recently, the Tamarack artists’ market in Beckley, W.Va., selected him to be a juried artist, and 10 of his pieces went on sale there at the start of March. Locally, his art can be purchased at “Tha Spot” Skateboards and More in Wheeling.

Nixon said it all began when he was a student at Wheeling Park High School in the late 1990s, and began crafting bracelets to wear out of braided hemp.

He went on to attend the former West Liberty State College, where he majored in accounting and later general business. After graduating from college in 2004, he went to work as a dog trainer.

Over time he began to notice on the Internet pieces of the sterling silver, wire-wrapped jewelry for sale, and found them appealing.

“Most of it was out of my price range, so I just started making it for myself.” he said. “One thing led to another, and people started asking if I could make it for them.”

He wore his pieces on the job as a dog trainer, and many started noticing and asking about it.

Nixon next began putting pictures of his jewelry on Facebook, using his Lone Stone Design page. Many online liked his creations.

“People would ask me, ‘Is that piece available (for sale)?’” he said. “It just kind of took off from there. I had no intention of doing anything like that. I just wanted to make stuff for myself.”

After a 14-year career as a dog trainer, Nixon decided about two years ago to become a jewelry artisan fulltime.

“I took a heck of a pay cut,” he said. “But as far as being my own boss and making my own hours, it’s definitely a relief to be able to work for myself..

“Plus, I like working with people — at least on a personal basis when somebody wants a custom piece. I do miss the dogs every day.”

Building on the relationships he has already established, Nixon specializes on crafting one-of-a kind pieces.

He mostly crafts pendants, but sometimes does a bracelet or a pair of earrings. He doesn’t do rings, as they are difficult to size.

“I don’t know if there is all that many people familiar with that kind of jewelry, so it’s pretty unique,” he said. “The people who are familiar with wired jewelry haven’t seen it as detailed as I do it. They are all one-of-a-kind pieces.”

While some items take about three hours, more intricate pieces can take 15 hours or more to create, he said. Prices start in the $35 range, and can go into the hundreds of dollars.

Nixon adds semi-precious stones to his work, such as amethyst, peridot and all colors of tourmaline. Birthstones are popular, as are stones associated with emotional healing.

Nixon also has worked with gold nuggets and even pieces of metorites.

Not surprisingly, a favorite stone requested by his dog-loving clientele is labradorite.

Nixon said he doesn’t sketch out his jewelery art first when crafting. Instead, he would rather hold the gems in his hand, and let the creative spirit move him to give them form.

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Information from: The Intelligencer, http://www.theintelligencer.net

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