Juanita Gonzalez grew up in a large family of 16 (eight boys and eight girls) in Claremont California. Early in her life, a seed was planted for creativity. She remembers marveling at her brothers' and sisters' extravagant artistic exploits through out her childhood. One time in particular was when her brothers build 10 foot kites and launched the gigantic works of art at the local dam in hopes the height would add in their flight. Kite building was not the only art form Juanita was exposed to; there was pottery, jewelry, painting, woodworking, and dressmaking. Juanita soaked up the creative conversations between siblings and friends, as well as watching her mother sketch faces on scrap pieces of paper.
It wasn’t until high school that Juanita learned she no longer was a bystander but now a participant. Her jewelry teacher Alice Ritchie saw Juanita’s potential and took her under her wing. Alice became the most influential person in Juanita’s life; mentoring her in the art of jewelry and stained glass, and giving hours of private instruction that helped her build confidence. One day while tediously working on a piece of jewelry, Juanita turned and mentioned to Alice that she was not fond of sanding. Alice admitted that she too disliked the task and found certain other skills challenging. Because of that conversation, Juanita came to understand that all artist struggle with the process at some time or another but it does not diminish their creative talent.
In Juanita’s early adult life she continued to work on her craft designing jewelry and stained glass windows. She took every opportunity to make a creative space, be it in a basement or a small corner of a room. Then in 2001 Juanita began following her dream of going to school to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Art with the intent of someday have her own art studio. Now, several years after graduating from Chico State, the opportunity to open her own art studio presented itself at the Highland Art Center and she is thrilled to be pursuing her craft full time. She won the prestigious Best in Show award for a multi media sculpture of a bicycle, and the Award of Excellence in the sculptural category for a ceramic installation at the 2017 Highland Art Center Juried Art Show.
Juanita works closely with her clients to ensure that the design process meets their satisfaction. Juanita's jewelry strikes the perfect balance between aesthetics and structural integrity. Excellence is always the focus in Juanita’s artwork.
A customer of Juanita’s who lived in another city sent her a picture of a ring they liked but wondered if modification could be made. Through texting and e-mails, Juanita was able to involve her customer in the designing process. When all collaboration was done, Juanita proceeded to forge the ring. Juanita’s customer cherished the ring so much, that she wore it all the time, and told Juanita, “ My friends are always commenting on my ring and wanting to know where I get it.”
Custom jewelry, ceramic, and stained glass design
Classes offered in jewelry