Janine Hegy isn't the type of woman to paint her fingernails, curl her hair or dress up for work.
She wears a limited amount of jewelry - usually just a necklace and earrings that she made - and is more likely to have a smudge of dirt across her face than wear mascara or lipstick.
At first, Hegy might seem shy. She doesn't talk a lot about herself or share opinions on controversial world issues. But get the petite blonde started talking about rockery or jewelry-making and it's an entirely different story. Her eyes light up with enthusiasm and her posture straightens, making her appear at least two or three inches taller.
Hegy, a Sequim mason and jewelry-maker, loves her job and sharing what she does with others.
Recent projects include building a rock wall for a client outside of Joyce, covering the foundation on a 1933 farmhouse with rock skirting and fine-tuning designs with a client in Port Ludlow.
Last month, Hegy participated in the Seattle Flower & Garden Show building a freestanding stone arch for Marenakos Rock Center. She described the experience as "quite an honor and a challenge."
Earlier this year, Hegy received the first of five levels of certification with Dry Stone Conservancy in Kentucky.
If all goes as planned, the certification will lead to a summer fellowship working alongside some of the most talented rock masons in the U.S.
"My goal is to take the level of my work up by working with other masons," Hegy said.
Membership in the Stone Foundation led to international adventures such as a restoration project in Majorca, Spain, and taking part in a Barre, Vt., building competition.
After being featured in the Gazette in 2006, Hegy welcomed a new client who, in turn, submitted a photograph of her work to Duluth Trading Company. As a result, Hegy was welcomed on board as an official "tester" for the business and featured in its magazine as one of several "real women" modeling work wear.
Now, Hegy receives products in the mail - such as jackets, pants, etc. - to test and report back to Duluth how the product held up for a "hardworking woman."
In an effort to expand her business, Hegy has learned how to chisel and sandblast numbers and lettering into her stonework.
"It marks my work as handmade and unique," Hegy said.
She recently built a home studio where she makes and sells jewelry. Using the experience she gained while managing a popular Seattle jewelry store years ago, Hegy now helps clients re-create jewelry they already own into pieces of art they want to wear.
For example, a man brought a broken necklace to her last week that she transformed into a pair of pearl earrings for his girlfriend.
Mostly, Hegy just wants to get her name out into the community so that when people see a wall, stairs or fireplace she built, they recognize her work.
"It's good for people to know there are individuals in Sequim who are really trying to represent the community," Hegy said.
"When I go to a show or a competition and people ask me where I'm from, I say, 'Sequim, Washington!' with great pride."
Ashley Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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