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Mixed Media Jewelry with Workhouse Artist Carol Hamilton

She's Building W-9's featured artist for September.

Jewelry by Workhouse artist Carol Hamilton (Courtesy Photo)
Jewelry by Workhouse artist Carol Hamilton (Courtesy Photo)
Workhouse Arts Center mixed media jewelry artist Carol Hamilton can make art out of almost anything. In fact, she's been a problem solver most of her life.

 "I must create art," Hamilton told Patch. "If I focus too long on the business side of things I tend to go stir crazy."

Hamilton makes all sorts of jewelry (much of it with metal clay), including scarfs, bracelets, necklaces, belts and earrings. Her latest work has new life since she recently returned from a three week trip in Guatemala, where she worked with a missionary group to teach women how bead jewelry and create felt.

 "I make felt every day. It's easy, but these little things we take for granted can change a person's life," Hamilton said. "One of the women I taught had something horrible happen to her family, and before I left she told me that I changed her life, that she now has something to focus on and look forward to."

Hamilton, a native of Redondo Beach, Ca., and was taught to sew by her mother (who made all her clothes) at an early age. She married her high school sweetheart, had two sons, and then, after getting a divorce, was a single mother for 12 years.

"We were homeless at one point for six weeks and lived at a Motel 6," said Hamilton. "I worked three jobs to support my family and it was hard, but it was a fun life. After school the boys would go fishing and bring home dinner. They all became very self reliant."

Hamilton's jobs varied over the next decade, from owning a balloon shop to working in the crafts section of Walmart and Michael's. Her life completely changed in 1999 when she met U.S. Navy Capt. George Hamilton on an online dating site. The couple married months after meeting and moved to London, England, soon after the wedding.

"It was in England that I was really hit with the artist bug," she said. The couple returned in 2004, and Hamilton enrolled in every fabric and sculpture course she could find. She joined the Workhouse in 2009.

Artist Wendy Anderson has a studio next door to Hamilton. "What can't Carol do?" said Anderson. "She has a creative eye, and if you hand her something and ask 'What can you make out of this?' she can figure it out. She'll make a basket from a pile of twigs."

Hamilton is the featured artist at building W-9, and will exhibit her work  on Sept. 14th at 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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