Hi, I’m Grace Rank and I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, “the sparkling city by the sea.” I am an artisan jeweler, a retired nurse, a child advocate, a musician, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. The story of how I came to design and create artisan jewelry is both mystical and practical, as well as being a lesson in faith.
In 2002, my 37 year old son, Joe, was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.) At the time he was a well-respected software development scientist in Austin, Texas, was married to a school teacher, Linda, and had four children ranging in age from 2 years old to 12 years old. His prognosis was 5 to 10 years, and the family was alerted to the fact that supplies, equipment, medications, and home care were brutally expensive and not all were covered by insurance. The entire family, including Joe’s two brothers and their wives, decided to raise funds to insure that Joe would want for nothing during his journey with the illness, and each family member contributed to the effort.
At the time, I was employed, but had dabbled with beaded jewelry making for fun. I took a lesson in jewelry wire wrapping and began producing dangle earrings. My daughter-in-law, Tracy, a labor and delivery nurse, sold many, many pairs of my earrings to nurses, and I felt the first sense of support and affirmation for my artistic endeavors. Friends encouraged me, bought from me and arranged for me to do my first “jewelry shows” at their places of work. Subsequently, I took a class in hand-forging silver.
As financial demands became more burdensome for Joe and his family, the jewelry business flourished and proceeds from jewelry sales helped pay for equipment, travel, and home health care. Joe wanted for nothing that money could buy. Making jewelry late into many nights, was, I believe, therapeutic for me as my family and I came to grips with the loss happening before our eyes.
Joe lost his battle with ALS on November 15, 2008. He left us with many blessings…among them, faith in the love of other people, faith in myself and faith in a merciful God.
Proceeds from the sale of jewelry benefit the ALS Association.