Valerie Gates is an award-winning art director, fashion photographer, designer, film director, and principal of Gates Studio in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She began her line of SeaGlassWear jewelry in July, 2002 after her aunt passed away and left five 8-gallon buckets full of beautiful seaglass collected over 40 years.
A native of Woods Hole, Cape Cod, Valerie spent summers combing the beaches for sea glass and worn sea stones. Although she spent several years in southern California and Italy, Valerie says, "I like the seasons in Massachusetts, with the red and gold falling leaves in Autumn and the sparkling ocean in the Summer. I like the old farmhouses with red barns within commuting distance to Boston; the intellectual mix of professors, artists, dreamers and doers. I like the mix of American history and millennium architecture."
Ms. Gates holds degrees in semiotics (the study of signs and symbols for visual communication) and art from Brown University. While at Brown, Gates took advantage of the collaboration the school had with the Rhode Island School of Design where she learned much of the foundation for what she does now.
In Los Angeles, Gates was a fashion/entertainment photographer and art director on projects for Motown, A+M Records, New Line Cinema, and an on-air creative director for CBS, ABC, and Women's Entertainment. Five years ago her family returned to Boston when she was asked to be the in-house art director for CBS-Boston (WBZ-4). She has won an Emmy, the CBS Eye-On-Excellence Award and BDA, PROMAX and AF/SONY national directing awards. She has also photographed famous personalities, including Ronald Reagan, Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretsky and WBZ personalities such as Liz Walker, Jack Williams and Bob Lobel.
Gates left Channel 4 to start Gates Studio with her husband so she could have more time with her children. Besides honoring her aunt by using her collection of sea glass for jewelry, Gates says, "it's the ultimate recycling. The ocean re-creates the glass into really beautiful jewels that women wear at elegant parties."