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Marisela Rivera: Jewelry Job Is Real Gem…Colby O'Donis Colón: Dead-Set On A 'Show-Biz' Career

Marisela Rivera: Jewelry Job Is Real Gem

By Beth Browning | Sentinel Correspondent

September 29, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

KISSIMMEE -- A friend reintroduced Marisela Rivera to jewelry making in February. She was immediately reminded of her love and talent forart and design.

In the 1980s Rivera had made jewelry, selling her creations to co-workers and family members. But that later went by the waysidebecause of her busy life in the corporate world.

Born in Puerto Rico, Rivera,and her husband, John Ramos, and their three children moved to Kissimmee six years ago.

They were looking for opportunities and were sure they had made the right choice when they quickly found jobs and bought a car and house. That changed in August 2001. After 17 years as a director of customer service in the telecommunications industry, the softening economy affected the industryRivera had built her career on and she was without work.

From then until February, she looked for work. Then Rivera started selling her jewelry to friends at church and at a flea market. She has become rededicated to making jewelry and hopes it will become hercareer.

Rivera, 40, buys stones at gem shows and local stores. She just returned from a gem show in Chicago and plans to attend a Miami show in October.

Also, she is taking classes in silver clay, a technique in which the silver is shaped with the clay. The clay disintegrates when fired. She also does wire wrapping with sterling silver and 14-karatgold.

"The variety of styles and colors appeal to all," she said.

Last year, Rivera's jewelry was worn during a fashion show held for prom night at Gateway High School, which her son attended. He is always promoting her talents and looking through her jewelry for gifts.

Rivera's favorite technique is wire wrapping. Wire is passed through a bead and coiled on each end, then attached to wire or a chain. Other techniques include caulder coil and kuchi coil. A bead or a wire cage for a bead is made, then attached to a wire or chain.

She also makes key holders, which are often given away when she does a house party, and napkin holders of wire and beads for housewarmings. Wine-glass charms are currently popular. They're made of memory wire, a type of wire that returns to its original shape. Rivera said these are beautiful when done in sterling or silver for weddings.

Her favorite stones are pearls, especially now that freshwater pearls are available in many colors. She likes to combine them with turquoise, tiger eye or coral, which is a popular stone this fall. They are elegant but can be worn with jeans.

"Customers often tell me about the type and color of clothes they own and that they haven't been able to find jewelry to match," she said. "The conversation leads to the types of stone, where they come from, etc., and later they tell me they enjoy sharing what they have learned with friends."

Rivera works on her jewelry three to four hours a day, Wednesday through Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday she studies for her master's degree in business administration, and she attends class on Tuesday night. She needs to complete two classes to earn her degree.

"My goal is to own my own business -- a shop where I can teach and sell," Rivera said. "The degree will help. I believe this is the best time to own a business, doing something you like and enjoy."

A recent newspaper article about people in the telecommunications industry who have lost jobs and started their own companies strengthened her feeling about her goal.

"Everything that surrounds us, every color in nature, every form, becomes inspiration that is later expressed in our selected art form," she said.

Teen Is Dead-Set On A 'Show-Biz' Career

By Mike Berry | El Sentinel

November 16, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 





LONGWOOD -- Colby O'Donis Colón, a 13-year-old singer, songwriter, dancer and actor, is so focused on his entertainment career that he admits it hasn't left him much of a social life. A heavy schedule of dancing lessons, piano lessons, guitar lessons and singing lessons doesn't leave much time for hanging out with his friends.

"At the beginning, they hated me. They didn't talk to me,'' said the eighth-grader at Teague Middle School. "But they got used to it.''

Colón, who was born in New York and now lives in Longwood, has tasted success and is dead-set on a successful career in show business.

He has acted in commercials, appeared on television shows and sang for everyone from Gov. Jeb Bush to the Seminole County School Board. He takes lessons from a professional guitarist who played with Carlos Santana. His family is currently hunting for a new manager to handle his budding career.

Through all this, Colón is a friendly, enthusiastic kid with no false sense of modesty.

"I love my voice,"' he said during an interview at his principal's office. Then he apologized if that sounded conceited, saying it's just that music is his tonic and his balm.

"If I'm in a bad mood, I can sing and get all cooled down. I get so much stress out of me,'' he said.

Colón's affinity for performing arts has roots in his family. His father, Freddy, was a New York DJ who regularly won dance competitions; his mother, Olga, is a singer who was Miss Puerto Rico in 1980, he said.

His first influence: Michael Jackson. He remembers seeing Jackson's "Thriller" video before he started kindergarten.

"Ever since I saw that, I wanted to do what he does. That's so cool."

Colón's focus on his career has affected his performance at school, he admits. Previously an honor roll student, Colón has seen his grades slip this year. He vows to do better.

"I think he sometimes likes to be a star. Sometimes that gets him in hot water,'' said Teague Principal Roger Gardner. "We're working on that. We'll pull him through."

Colón's taste in music leans toward pop and rhythm and blues, but he can tackle somber material. For the school board, he performed a song he wrote about his uncle, a paramedic who died in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center terrorist attack.

He can sing the song without notes, and did so spontaneously in the principal's office. But it took him six months to write it, he said, because every time he tried to tackle the song, he was overcome with emotion.

Colón's latest project is to complete his first CD.

While his parents have nurtured his career, they do not let it go to his head, he said.

"If my Dad sees my head is getting too big, he makes me pull weeds," Colón said. "He sends me outside. It keeps me grounded."

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