About The Face

About The Face

For more than 40 years Diane Briegleb has been learning, creating and evolving her craft to embrace the magic effect jewelry and creativity has on the world. She believes that each piece she crafts contains a part of herself and that it can give a sense of power and strength to those that enjoy and create with her pieces. Now after a lifetime of dancing with her muses she is working with her daughter Cija to pass on the art and craft of creating The Face.

The birth of The Face began in the early 70’s in the dusty desert town of El Mirage California, known at the time more for glider competitions than creative artistic endeavors. Diane Briegleb met the love of her life Ken, a professional sail plane pilot there and settled down to be a wife and mother to her 3 children. Little did she know that this new desert life would take her on the adventure of a lifetime.

Diane began her creative journey as many artists do, as a hobby. She had taken a raku ceramics class with her friend Kay Lanz and was inspired to try her hand at creating beads to use in her macramé (quite the popular hobby at the time). She worked with earth colored clay and began making beads. Her first designs were unglazed patterned round and tubular earthenware beads with no glaze. Her designs caught on with bead shops and designers and she quickly had a successful bead business bursting at the seams with orders. By 1974 found Diane employing 50 local woman in the area to help her create enough beads and fill her orders. She and her team were creating upwards of 3000 pieces on a weekly basis by hand. Her line grew to eventually include animals, leaves, plants impressions, fantastical creatures and Egyptian King Tut inspired pieces.

In her first phase of bead creation she designed more than 100 different styles and sold to bead stores across the United States and the Hawaiian islands. The rough organic bohemian fashion  sensibility was in full swing. Diane’s rustic jewelry had a solid place in fashion and was featured in Women’s Day Magazine, craft magazines of the time, the Smithsonian Institute of Washington D.C and the gift shops in Yosemite National Park.

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Eventually though, disco came along. With it came gold chains and less interest in the natural styled fashion trends. Diane and her family moved to San Diego where she eventually became head jewelry designer first for Angelique Jewelry and then for Accents of California. At Angelique she created whimsical pin designs centered around people’s hobbies and interests: roller skating, skiing, cowboys and music to name a few. This new work was brightly colored and fun and had a much lighter tone then her original works. At Accents she moved into serious fashion and began designing ceramic belt pieces, earrings and necklaces. But, at some point she realized that she missed being able to have full control over her design and creation process and eventually found her way to The Face the freedom to design what was in her soul.

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Diane had always been fascinated the human face and she began to experiment with creating ceramic faces. Some were simple but dramatic and some were more complex in ornamentation and glazing techniques. But, while they were similar, they each had their own their own personality, mood and spirit defined by their designs, glazes and imprints. She began using the faces in a variety of ways and also in collaboration with other designers. The Faces found their way onto kaleidoscopes, purses, necklaces, wall hangings, dolls, sculptures and more.

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Over the years Diane gained a loyal following of customers that were passionate about The Face. Some people were simply collectors that would proudly admit they had a wall or cabinet or drawer full of them. While others made their own stunning creations bringing their unique passion and interpretation to The Face.

Diane & Cija…the early years 🙂

Diane now lives in a remote forested town in the mountains of the Williamette National Forest outside of Eugene, Oregon. She has a small studio to create in and kilns for firing her pieces. She has been making The Face for over 20 years. From time to time she has considered giving up the business, but there has always been something about The Face that has continued to have a special place in her heart and inspire her to continue on.

Her daughter Cija and husband Dave moved in to help her when her husband Ken passed away in 2017. Cija is now apprenticing with Diane and learning the craft of The Face. And so The Face will live on.

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