Ronna Lugosch, owner of Pea Pod Jewelry in Round Pond, will discuss her career following the monthly business meeting of the Midcoast branch of the American Association of University Women on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. in the Community Room of the Rockland Public Library. The event, co-sponsored by the library, is free and open to the public.

Lugosch was 4 years old, growing up in a Chicago suburb, when she announced that she was going to be an artist. She realized the direction her artistic career would take when she learned to create small metal sculpture and jewelry at Evanston Township High School.

“I was hooked,” she said.

Lugosch graduated from the University of Wisconsin, earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, and immediately began her career designing and making jewelry.┬áTo earn money during those early years, she worked part time restoring artifacts at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute Science Museum. That’s where she met her husband, Emile.

In 1982 Emile and Ronna were offered an opportunity to house-sit for the winter in South Bristol. They both had an affinity for Maine, and thought that if they could survive one Maine winter, they could live there year round. That first winter, Lugosch created jewelry in a barely heated room in the drafty, rambling Cape. To save money, the couple ate mussels they collected several times a week from the tidal flats.

In 1983, having survived that first winter and still loving Midcoast Maine, they bought an 1880s house in a country setting near Round Pond Village, another town on the Pemaquid Peninsula. They added a studio, where Lugosch still makes her jewelry. At first she marketed her jewelry through wholesalers, trade shows and jewelry stores, but this required frequent travel and took her away from her design work. In 2000 she realized her dream of opening her own gallery when she and Emile finished converting their 1940s one-car garage into a shop and showcase for her work. The decor is “all peas” (green walls, a pea pod rug, and all the pea pod pieces Lugosch has for sale. Her gallery also features a new and growing pea pod museum of pea artifacts people contribute once they have visited or purchased a personal “pea pod” piece of jewelry.

Lugosch’s jewelry is unique and wonderfully crafted. Her story represents a Maine attitude of “I can do this” that all will recognize.

The American Association of University Women a national organization advocating equity and education for girls and women. Its Midcoast branch, which welcomes new members, sponsors annual student scholarships through The Maine Literary Festival project held each November at the Camden Opera House. For more information visit maineliteraryfestival.com.