About the Artists

Fire Dance Studio is Paula and Jim McDowell

Originally from Ohio, we now make our home in Lafayette, Louisiana.

In business since 2004, Paula and Jim have been creating works of art since 1999. It was at that time, we were both bitten by some kind of crazy, artistic bug, and were driven to find outlets for our creative sides.

Paula McDowell, originally a software engineer and human resources manager, began taking classes in metalworking and jewelry making. As a result, Paula’s work blends a variety of traditional and non-traditional methods to create unique one-of-a-kind pieces.

Much of Paula’s silver work is created with metal clay, developed in Japan in the early 1990’s. Microscopic particles of silver (or gold, bronze or copper) are suspended in an organic binder, allowing the material to be worked like pottery clay. The fresh clay can be molded, formed, cut, and impressed with textures, and once dry, the clay can be further refined and carved. The resulting piece is then fired in a kiln – where the binder is burned away, and the resulting piece is pure metal. Traditional silver smithing methods can then be used to complete the piece.  Paula has recently added the use of CopprClay and BronzClay to her creations.

Paula’s work often incorporates organic textures, such as water or bark patterns, or themes, such as leaves and twigs. Paula also loves rock formations and polishes many of her own stone cabochons for inclusion in her work.

Incorporating bead components (pearls, natural stone, some crystal), dichroic glass, as well as copper, brass and bronze metals allows Paula to make truly unusual, artistic and fun jewelry.

Paula continues to take workshops each year to add new techniques to her arsenal, and to keep her creativity fresh. She is a member of the Precious Metal Clay Guild and teaches PMC classes regularly.

Jim McDowell, a chemical engineer and entrepreneur, began taking classes in glass blowing at the Michigan Hot Glass Workshop in Detroit, MI. There, he discovered a love for the intense heat of the furnaces and the movement of liquefied glass.

Jim has taken workshops and practiced his art at a number of hot shops around the country: Pittsburgh Glass Center, River City Works and Neusole Glassworks in Cincinnati, OH and New Orleans Creative Glass Institute.

Jim has recently started experimenting with glass fusing, and also enjoys creating hand made books, which incorporate ancient and modern techniques.

Jim and Paula hope to create their own small glass studio in the Lafayette, LA area in the near future.

Don't forget to visit our store at:


Website Builder