Where Art & Life Meets

B23 - 18 Kt Brushed Gold & 18 VSII .31 ct. Diamonds ~ Total Diamond ct weight = 5.58 ct
B23 – 18 Kt Brushed Gold & 18 VSII .31 ct. Diamond Bracelet ~ Total Diamond ct weight = 5.58 ct

When my daughter, Emma was diagnosed with autism I threw myself into research the way a starving man forages for scraps.  I describe it this way, because the degree of desperation I felt was acute, and at the time, I viewed autism as “life-threatening”.  It saddens me now, looking back, that the information we were given regarding autism and what that supposedly meant, for not only our daughter, but for all of us, has not changed dramatically.  How many parents to newly diagnosed children will feel what I once felt?  How many parents will go home and throw themselves into the monumental task of educating themselves about autism and will read similar stories as I once did?  How many parents will believe that “recovery” from Autism is a concrete and noble goal for their child?  How many parents will fall into line pursuing any number of dubious treatments all in the name of “saving” their child?  Because I can tell you, that pursuit, that mind-set of desperately seeking “recovery” from Autism is a dangerous mirage.

R12 - 18 Kt Brushed Gold & 16.5 ct Pink Tourmaline
R12 – 18 Kt Brushed Gold & 16.5 ct Pink Tourmaline Ring

About a year and a half into my “research” my husband, Richard came to me and expressed his concern, not for Emma, though he absolutely loves both our children and feels concern for their well-being, not for her diagnosis, not for anything we were or weren’t doing, no, he expressed concern for me.  I remember the feeling of rage that welled up inside of me.  I remember thinking that I hated him for voicing his thoughts.  I remember my outrage and indignation.  I remember.  All because he dared to suggest, “You have to find something that has nothing to do with autism.”  Did he not understand that I was saving our daughter’s life?!  Could he not see that I was single-handedly engaged in a battle?  While he stood there looking at me with love and worry, I fumed.  I no longer remember the words exchanged, I can’t remember our exact conversation, but I remember the gist of it.  I remember how pained he looked when I angrily attacked him, suggesting that were it not for me, our child would be thrown under the proverbial bus.

But my husband is not easily pushed aside.  My husband is a tough negotiator, a dogged persuader, a pit bull in a junk yard, he can go up against the best of them and still come out standing.  In other words, I didn’t have a chance in hell.  Still I put up a good fight.  Richard, not to be undone by my hurling insults, stood firm. You see he understood something I didn’t.  He saw what I was doing and he could see what it was doing to me, even if I couldn’t.  “You’re depressed,” he said.  I glared at him.  “You can’t even see it.”  How do you argue with that?  How can you counter unawareness?  You can’t.  But Richard loves me and kept trying to get through and even though I didn’t understand and didn’t agree with what he was saying I could hear the love in his voice.  I could feel his words.

E206_ATT29 - 18 Kt Brushed Gold with Removable 18 Kt Brushed Gold and 30.15 ct Prehnite Drops
E206_ATT29 – 18 Kt Brushed Gold Earrings with Removable 18 Kt Brushed Gold & 30.15 ct Prehnite Drops

As a direct result of that difficult conversation I began taking classes in jewelry making.  I’d gone to Parsons School of Design, majoring in Fashion Design, knew before I’d even graduated with my bachelors degree that fashion design was not for me, and worried that jewelry was too similar, but I was wrong.  There is something about working with metal, carving a wax model, sketching a new design, figuring out how something will hang or how a clasp will function and yet add an artistry to the piece, that transports me.  When I am working, time becomes meaningless, the world, worries and fears move into a corner.  When I am designing and making jewelry it is as though I am in another dimension.  A magical place where it is just me and my work, there are no words, my emotions become the work, they are embedded in the design.  Art does not intersect life as much as it becomes life.

I found a studio.  I began to create…

R17 - 18 Kt Brushed Gold
R17 – 18 Kt Brushed Gold Ring
E184 - 18 Kt Brushed Gold, 12.3 ct Rubelite, SI2 - .44 ct Diamonds & 18 Kt Brushed Gold, & Removable 82.1 ct Indicolite Tourmaline
E184 – 18 Kt Brushed Gold, 12.3 ct Rubelite, SI2 – .44 ct Diamond Earrings with Removable 18 Kt Brushed Gold, & 82.1 ct Indicolite Tourmaline Drops

After awhile I began selling my work.  My ‘jewelry‘ (click ‘jewelry’ for Ariane Zurcher Jewelry website) began getting noticed, I won some awards, and suddenly two years after having that conversation with my husband, I had a business. In 2010 I began a blog ~ click ‘Emma’s Hope Book‘ ~ where I write about autism, my daughter and the hope she gives me for this world and all the people in it.


Please don’t forget to ‘like’ my ‘Ariane Zurcher Designs‘ Facebook page, by clicking on the link or at the bottom of this post and if you’d like to receive additional posts from this blog, be sure to sign up and follow!  I will post once a week or so.

I’d love to hear from all of you ~ what inspires you?

30 thoughts on “Where Art & Life Meets

  1. Thank you Richard for your “Push” so we can all now benefit from these beautiful designs. I have a degree (My major was fashion and minor in child development) in fashion and never been able to make jewelry Ariane, you are extremely talented. Some day I’ll make more money so I can buy more from you. The world needs you so badly and and I am so glad you exist with your entire family.


    1. Shenny – thank you so much for your lovely words of support. They are appreciated! I am planning a small silver collection (it will be more accessible to more people) and will post about it in the near future!


  2. There is a magic when someone writes of circumstances that aren’t your own, but have a core of truth that mirrors so perfectly, you can’t dodge the epiphany no matter how hard you try.
    I have been lost and struggling and avoiding what I know to be right.
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


  3. Thank you for your inspiration both in the world of autism and in the world of art! I think we all struggle and strive for a sense of “balance” in our lives! I certainly identify with your “Did he not understand that I was saving our daughter’s life?!” rationale. We are so often “putting out the fires” that it’s hard to feed our own souls! I’m glad you are finding that for yourself. I’m looking enjoying this blog as much as I enjoy “Emma’s.”


  4. I’ve been anxiously awaiting your first post from this new blog and immediately tagged it on my Favorites list, before even reading it!

    You are one of the few parents that I’ve met that “get” how easy it is to lose yourself in the world of your child’s diagnosis. Not only for autism, but for any special needs child. And you’re certainly not the only slow learner out there! It took me a very long time to realize that I need something I enjoy, some aspect of my identity, that is just “me”. ME. Not the wife/mother/housewife me. The me I had dreams about years ago but then gave up on. Somehow, in my mind, since I had never “cured” my child, I didn’t deserve any other aspect of identity. It was selfish of me to think beyond my child because she needed me, so very much, to save her.

    Eventually it dawned on me. In my case, it wasn’t my husband but my mom. (Who, ironically, has been a housewife her entire life.) I started thinking up a plan and how I could go about it. I got Joel on board with it, and though I was terrified, I just DID it. I have worked on and off in the Antiques/Collectibles field for years, and it’s what I love. Love with a passion. Whether it’s admiring a radio my dad is refinishing, or reading about Windsor chairs, or just wandering about an antique mall – I lose all sense of time and space and just enjoy it.

    So I started a correspondence course that I’m almost finished with. When done I’ll be able to have a certificate of completion that says I know what I’m doing. I’ll be able to make some money working from home, no matter which way I pursue it.

    And then there’s you, Ariane. I was about six months into my schooling when I met you, and at a very low point in my life. You’ve helped me in so many ways I can’t begin to tell you, but you encouraged me to continue, to do it for me. Seeing what you’ve done, how beautiful your work is, inspired me. It made me actually think “I might be able to do this!”. And so I continued on, and now I’m almost finished, and plan on pursuing the career I’ve always dreamed of. It might not be in the form I originally thought it would be, but it’s something that’s just for me that no one can take away from me.

    I love you, Lady. I’m so proud you’ve started this blog and promise that I will be it’s biggest fan. I don’t know that I’d be where I am now if not for you, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart!


    1. (((Angie))) *Wiping tears from my eyes while trying to type* Seriously. I thought of you when I hit the “publish” button. I thought of you as I was trying to format the page and get the images to align with the text the way I wanted. (I never could get it to do what I wanted.) I thought of you. And I have been hoping that you kept going, kept moving forward with your business, despite everything. So to get this comment from you means everything to me. Really, it does. Because without balance, without pursuing that dream we are betraying not just ourselves, but everyone who loves us. Everyone benefits when we manage that balance. Everyone. So glad you’re going for it, Ang. I can’t wait to hear all about it. I can’t wait to get an update from you. To my virtual little sister – you’re fabulous and I am cheering you on every step of the way!


  5. Beautiful work. I have 2 nephews with autism and they are so much fun and quite smart in their own way (one of them picked up a trumpet and began playing the star wars theme without a single lesson). I hope you will find joy in your child’s differences and wish you success with your art.


  6. I am agog! What beauty! My eyes could follow curves and sparkles for hours. You have created a beautiful space here. I am out of words, but my eyes! Hooray for your incredible talent!


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