Now that Jim Garrity is retired, he is free to pursue his avocation.
"Gold is a much nicer medium to work in," Garrity said. "It is easier to work in than silver and it doesn't oxidize or transfer heat as rapidly."
Despite his love of gold, he uses both precious metals when he crafts jewelry.
An owl brooch is created from both metals and the owl's eye is set with a doublet opal (a manmade stone meant to approximate the rare, natural, black opal.)
Garrity and his wife, Diana are members of the Payson Birders. Garrity was inspired to make the brooch when someone from a bird sanctuary gave a presentation to the group.
He enjoys toying with abstract shapes to make his pendants, rings, earrings and pins.
During high school, Garrity enjoyed drawing.
"I was the class artist always when I was in school," he said. "Art was inescapable. A talent for art is inborn."
Then, while attending the University of Wisconsin he decided to fill a vacancy in his academic schedule with an art metals class.
"I studied under renowned professor Arthur Vierthaler," he said. "I got to know my professor, we went hunting together. He helped me fall in love with jewelry making."
He graduated with a bachelor of science in applied art in 1952 and went on to a 35-year career in advertising art.
The last 15 years of his career was spent as the graphic designer and art director for Mayo Clinic publications in Rochester, Minn.
The climate and short travel time to Mayo in Scottsdale brought him to Payson.
Now that he is finished with advertising Garrity can put his computer away and take out his drawing board and tools and make jewelry as often as he wishes.
"The stones inspire me to do the jewelry," he said. "They almost dictate to me what I am going to make."
Garrity's background in drawing helps him sketch custom designs when he collaborates with customers.
"When the customer becomes involved in the design we are both happy," he said.
Mystic topaz is the hot new manmade gemstone on the market and one Garrity often uses to set within his silver and gold work.
"It is a hard, durable stone bursting with colors made out of white topaz that is treated with titanium.
Of course, selling his jewelry to anyone is satisfying, but when he sells it locally Garrity said he is happy because then he may get to see the person who bought it as they enjoy wearing it.
Name: Jim Garrity
Medium: gold and silver jewelry
Award for which you are most proud: Who's Who in Advertising 1990 and 1991
Loveliest stone: Australian opal for it's innate colors.
Hobbies: Hunting, all over the world.
Fave type of books and movies: Mysteries and foreign intrigue.
Fave type of music: Classical, especially Rachmaninoff.
Advice to beginning artists: "Art is a tough field. You have to be ready to switch direction and keep up with the times. You have to be ready to do some giving and taking. If you convince the people you are working with you have good ideas you will succeed."
Points of contact: (928) 474-5102 or Artists of the Rim Gallery, 408 W. Main St., Payson.