About the Artist

Nancy Estes Hoyt

Artist History

Jewelry making has been my absolute passion for over 40 years! I believe that I was born with an innate desire to create. If you were to ask my parents you would find that as a child, I was always captivated by art and delighted in discovering new processes.

I was born and raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I look back on my childhood fondly, with many hours a day spent outside playing in our quiet neighborhood.  It was, at the time, very rural with farmers pastures very close. One of my favorite memories is that the neighborhood kids would band together and make forts on much of the open land around us. We had underground forts, above ground forts made with scrap wood, we had dirt forts and long grass forts!  If I wasnt spending time creating forts I probably could be found in our basement doing some kind of craft. I think it was my childhood love of the outdoors that has inspired my artwork through out my life.

I went to High School at Lakeridge High in Lake Oswego.  I was very lucky to have been there during some of the years when jewelry making was available in the art program.  There was something so enchanting about that first ring I made in my high school art class (thank-you Mr. Ponti!). It was silver and set with tiny beach pebbles. It seemed to me like a little piece of magic. The process was so intriguing. The notion that I could take my ideas and transform them into a lasting metal object began my love affair with metal arts. 

I graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in Fine Arts.  There was a Jewelry and Metalsmithing program there with a fabulous professor; Max Nixon.  I was also very lucky to have studied under him! 

My husband Jimmy and I were married between my junior and senior year in college.  We moved around a bit with his job; for the first few years he worked for Del Monte foods.  They moved us to Boulder, CO, then Albuquerque, NM, then to Portland, OR. 

I found out that a bench goldsmith/silversmith was a very employable vocation.  I never had any trouble finding a job.  I worked as a bench jeweler in Boulder, Albuquerque, Portland and Boise.

We then started our family; two wonderful boys!  We moved to Boise Idaho after Jim earned his masters degree and started working for JR Simplot. (Idaho Potatoes!)  Our family spent 27 years in Boise Idaho.  I had a home studio; and started selling in galleries and art shows and doing tons of custom work; and my business grew with our boys.   

Jimmy retired as of August 2013.  Yay! He is so happy, and ready to move on and play a little; or maybe a lot!  We have sold our wonderful home in Boise to a lovely family with 4 young children. (It's a big house)  Now we are on to the next chapter!  We moved around a bit; McCall, Idaho, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Bend, Oregon, and now hopefully our VERY last move; Dolores Colorado.  We wanted to be closer to our 2 boys, daughter in law, and darling grandson! 

I am NOT retiring from making jewelry!    I will probably continue to play with metals and gemstones until my fingers and eyes no longer work for me!!  It is still too much fun!


Jimmy, Nancy, August, Tyler, Kendra and Ryan

oh goodnes, I think I need an updated family photo.  August is 2 years old now!!

Description of work

I do all the design and creation of the jewelry pieces myself, from the first rough sketch to the finished piece of jewelry.

To create my jewelry, I usually start with a sketch. I then transfer the design to wax or metal depending on if the piece will be hand carved and lost wax cast, or fabricated. If the piece is cast, I carve exactly what I want from a block of wax using dremel type tools and specially re-shaped dentist tools. The wax is then encased in plaster in a metal flask, and melted out in a kiln. I melt the silver or gold in a ceramic crucible using a torch, and force it into the plaster mold using a centrifugal casting machine. I then quench the mold in water to break apart the plaster and retrieve the casting. The piece then needs to be finished by filing, assembling, soldering, sanding, setting the stones and polishing.

To make a duplicate of the first finished metal piece, I can make a rubber mold of it, inject it with wax, and do the lost wax casting process again. Many pieces can be cast together on a "tree" and then cut apart once cast into metal. They then all need the assembling and finishing again.

Many of my pieces are a combination of both casting and fabrication processes. For fabricated pieces, I use many different hand tools and processes to shape and texture the metal. Some of the tools I use are: files, drills, saws, torches, a buffing (and grinding) machine, sand blaster, vibratory tumbler, rolling mill, vises, stakes and hammers, drawplates, gravers, punches, stamps, and dapping tools.

I use 14 and 18 karat gold and sterling silver for my creations. I sometimes combine silver and gold together. I use recycled metal for my creations, either directly melting down old pieces, or I buy from refiners who recycle old metal.

Sometimes my ideas come from what seems to be completely within myself and other times they come from images, shapes and forms I see in the world around me. Wherever I get my inspiration from, it is in the creating that I get the most satisfaction. To have my pieces purchased and loved by another is just icing on the cake.



The rennovation of Gladys the traveling studio...

OK, it has officially happend, in September of 2014 I purchased a vintage 1968 "canned ham" style camper for $600 in Boise.  My most awesome and handy husband of all time went to work and rennovated it into my mobile studio.  I call her Gladys.  She makes me happy to go to work!

He spent 6 weeks working tirelessly; gutting it down to the "studs" (laughable), and totally rebuilding a work space for me with cabinets, work bench and great lighting.

"Before inside": astro turf on the ceiling! but love the skylight!
    gutted inside   
   cut out walls
    Jimmy staining walls   
OOH that ugly siding mess...
  Caulking and more caulking.... 
  measure twice cut once!
cabinets and tin ceiling   
 I helped just a little on the inside

laminate laid, cool low profile LED lighting,

  a ski, of course to hold my flex shaft 

Laying out exterior design
Primer (that's me)  
first color
tape and second color 
the big reveal night/after pulling all the tape: thrilling!
finished exterior
first official road trip from McCall to Lake Tahoe
Ryan's cat Cornelius likes it
he also likes the roof, of course. 
Chico likes it.  sometimes.
Centrifuge Caster built into removable countertop
Vise, stakes, hammers, scale, wax pot.
Rolling mill
Ultasonic/clean area and tumbler 
Solder area
Bench top
I LOVE my workspace!



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