A certified gemologist, trained by the Gemological Institute of America Inc., Sandi Starrette, MA, holds further certifications in diamond appraisal, colored stone identification and appraisal, and has completed apprenticeships in both gold and silversmithing. She began her career as a fiber artist and jeweler in 1967, excelling in a freelance capacity before becoming the owner of The Golden Scarab, a jewelry store, from 1975 to 1984. While she found great success in this traditionally male dominated field, she notes that it wasn’t without its struggles, recalling a particular time when a man came into her jewelry store for watch repair, but then refused to let her touch his watch because she was a woman. Despite experiences like this, Ms. Starrette persevered, never taking no for an answer, and has made a name for herself as a knowledgeable figure in all of her endeavors.
Ms. Starrette’s expertise spans not only art, but writing and music as well, and she earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Marist College in 1983. In 1985, she joined Sanders Inc. in Detroit as an advertising manager, staying in that position for a year before working as a freelance advertising writer from 1986 to 1988. During this time, she worked with a variety of ad agencies and continued her education, earning a Master of Arts in creative writing, creative process and process teaching from the Vermont College at Norwich University in 1988. From 1988 to 1996, Ms. Starrette continued pint production work and taught English composition and literature part time at Madonna College, as well as teaching writing at various writing conferences. She maintained her work as a four-color print production expert.
A subject matter expert in four color printing, Ms. Starrette made knowledge her priority, never pretending to know something she didn’t and always seeking to educate herself so that she could educate others. A particularly proud moment for her involved the first press text meeting regarding a new product. After the first sheet came off the press, she was called in to look at it and realized that adjustments needed to be made. She was able to note what adjustments were needed on the spot, and she was backed up by her boss as well. The moment of realizing that her expertise and knowledge was being recognized by the men she worked with felt incredibly empowering. In 1996, Ms. Starrette left the corporate world to return to her work as an artist.
Specializing in fiber and mixed media, Ms. Starrette attributes much of her success to determination and hard work, noting that art is so much more than simply “painting pictures.” In order to connect with other members of the artistic community, she maintains professional affiliation with both the Gemological Institute of America and is a member of the Mooresville Artist Guild. She was previously active with the Women’s Economic Club and the Detroit Working Writers. Additionally, spent three years as a singer with Don Large in the Make Way for Youth Chorus at WJR Radio and has also sung with the Rackham Symphony Choir, through which she went on a singing tour of Spain in the 1990s. Looking toward the future, Ms. Starrette hopes to serve as a role model for other women and would advise young and aspiring professionals to be your own champion and to not let naysayers tell you what you are capable of.
For her excellence, Ms. Starrette won several awards for her writing, including the DMFA Award for writing direct mail copy from the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit. She has also achieved several scholarships throughout her career to complete programs at Michigan State University and the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Other honors to her name include the President’s Award in 1990 and the Most Valuable Performer Award in 1995. Ms. Starrette was also notably recognized by Who’s Who Worldwide in 1994-1995.