My parents (on the right) with friend Bill Dennard at an art show in Houston in about 1973.My dad, Karl Akers, is the best. He has been endlessly supportive of my artistic endeavors for as long as I can remember. He was the first person to show me how to solder when I was in high school, and I knew that jewelry making was something that I wanted to learn from that point. It was several more years before I was able to take a metalsmithing class my sophomore year in college. When I took that class my parents gave me a tool box with a jewelers saw and some other tools that they had used in college. Dad had worked in the Arts and Crafts Studio at the University of Houston while he attended school there. Both of my parents used that studio to make some jewelry in those days. Though neither of them pursued jewelry making beyond those years, both are crafts people, dad a woodworker and mom a fiber artist. I grew up in a make it yourself household, surrounded by handmade objects, and art has always been a part of my life. Dad also gave me a jewelry design book that was an early influence on my aesthetic and interest in the field, Contemporary Jewelry A Studio Handbook. This book belonged to my dad, the original inscription reads, "To Karl, with Love. Happy Anniversary 1972. Connie", a gift from my mom to my dad. Below that reads, "To Ashley, My own Jeweler. Love Dad, Christmas 1995". Dad built my workbench, made my hydraulic press, has made display cases and earring stands, tent weights and many other necessities for an art booth. He has helped me to set up for shows and hung out at shows. I am one lucky girl, and these are just the jewelry related things that dad does for me. More recently he made Frank and I a bench with our names sandblasted in the side and built a fence in our backyard in the 100 degree heat. Like I said, my dad is the best. He even wears my jewelry. He has several bracelets that I have made, and has worn them all over the years. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of those. His favorite bracelet was lost last year, it was a simple woven sterling chain. I plan to make him another of those for his Father's Day gift.
Dad, Mom and I in May 1978.
The bench and new fence that dad built us.