Nisa Blackmon Line and silhouette. The former, in steel wire, I use as a minimalist encloser of space and volume, creating frameworks upon which to hang shifting perspectives, honed narratives and weathered memories in swatches of suggestive color. The latter is a tool I employ to interpose an idea (or ideas) between the viewer and the rest of the work. Silhouettes, negative or positive, define and frame an avenue into the work or cast its subjects against the larger space and context of the work. Together, their use creates opportunities for constructing narrative that does not confine or constrain, that suggests rather than declares, that allows for ease of entry and the proposition that the viewer bring something of their own to the story, and perhaps leave what they will along the way.
Hillarey Dees My current body of studio jewelry considers the life cycle of natural mate- rials and nods to both birth and decay. The work explores encased natural environments that relate to empty pods or abandoned nests. Pieces emphasize the fragile beauty of deteriorating forms. It is also indicative of my belief that the works have a life of their own, with each piece having been born rather than constructed.
Brian Fleetwood I have a particular sympathy for jewelry as a medium. I am compelled by the potential for unexpected relationships that develop between jewelry and its wearer, and I am intrigued by the history and metaphorical power of jewelry as a signifier for status, allegiance, victory, power and countless other things. But I am most inspired by the ability of jewelry to move through the world. Jewelry creates a system in miniature: jewelry and wearer. And like any other, as that system moves through the world it has the potential to create unexpected influences. It pulls and pushes, creating eddies and currents in the lives of the people through which it passes. I am exploring, through my work, epistemology—ways of knowing and organizing knowledge. This has manifested in a body of work that models and abstracts biological communities. Through jewelry, I draw components of biological structures from a number of sources, creating new, fictive anatomies. This work appears to grow directly from the wearer, suggesting a kind of symbiosis or parasitism. I am creating systems and models of systems using individual jewelry pieces that mimic the structure of arrangements that are repeated throughout nature. I am using the wearer as an environment, vector, and resource for my work with the purpose of gently suggesting alternative views of our relationships with the world around us. Ultimately I am raising questions about the hard lines that we draw between things in nature— including ourselves—and our place in biological, cultural, and personal systems.
Jennifer Glenn I create feminine jewelry with a shadowy quality that skews toward mystery, not sweetness. Fine metals are darkened and mixed. Images are obstructed to cloud the narrative, allowing the viewer to place their own memories or emotions to each piece. With tool-marks offset by delicate details, carefully chosen gemstones, and found objects, my pieces are effeminate yet strong. I create a vague impression, allowing the viewer to bestow their own memories or emotions to each piece. I am touched by the act of passing down jewelry as an heirloom. My works act to preserve this tradition and serve as tangible modern heirlooms in an increasingly digital and disposable world. Since the birth of my daughter, my work has changed into a distillation of my aesthetic. My focus has shifted to making a living as a working artist, and I balance between what people will buy and what feels like a representation of myself as an artist.
Courtney Lynn Kelly I have always been interested in details. In my youth, I spent hours drawing intricate pictures that contained a menagerie of animals, ornamentation, and hidden words. Today I draw in much the same way, although now I am more concerned with content and theme. I am fascinated with the way creatures and objects of the universe connect with one another. Although the seen world is full of empty space, I choose to depict it full of detail and activity, binding all elements together into one united image. My goal in art is to keep the viewer engaged in the work, and to see something new each time it is viewed. When I make jewelry, it is equally important for the back of the piece to be as interesting as the front, because it is the side which is closest and most intimate to the wearer. I am captivated by the beauty of creation, which gives me infinite ideas.
Nick Mullins My work revolves around improvisation, risk and chance married with intention. I intend to make interesting objects full of spontaneous choices. There are ideas I return to and rely on: loss, memory, love, death and decay. I make no sketches or studies; this way I keep the freedom that I look for in my work. This freedom is important to me. I process my daily life and the life of people around me: intention, desire and need. My work results from trying to hold on to certain feelings and embodying these feeling into material form. Each day I return to my work and it has morphed into something new.
Aaron Nelson The push and pull between man and the things we make interests me because of the unique role these objects play in the interface of humans and our external environment. Our technology gains context or meaning from its unique place as the mediator between the mind of humans and the external, physical world. Technological achievements are a manifestation this relationship; we use tools and innovations to shape our external environment and in turn, they shape the internal us. I use a combination of traditional design tools, computational design, hardware, software and 3D printing to create sculptural objects that explore the interplay between art, engineering and design.
Audrey Peck My work is a reflection of my surroundings. My childhood was filled with time spent playing outside and camping with my family, activities that cultivated in me a reverence for the natural world and its importance in our lives. As an adult, I find myself spending less time outdoors, with diminishing opportunities to experience the nature that is essential to my wellbeing. So, when I do go out, I collect mementos to carry a piece of that experience with me. My work also explores the tension in our environment in which man made structures and Mother Nature overlap, with Mother Nature increasingly getting squeezed out for more development. I’m constructing a true metaphor for the strength of society and natural forces to rebuild together with a mutual determination to thrive. The materials I choose attract me with the evidence of the wear and tear of time. These objects and materials are given a new life and purpose in my work. The choice to use wood as my primary material is not accidental. It is a renewable material resource, a form of recycling. The materials are themselves pieces of nature for wearers to carry with them as a small connection to the outdoors. In our ever-changing lifestyle that includes fewer moments enjoying nature and more time being bombarded by technology, making and sharing this work is a respite for me.
Katy Puterka In my jewelry I create flexible forms that cover a large surface area of the human body. Inspired from my upbringing of rock hounding with my family; my curiosity for earth’s geology transpose to the human figure within my art. The wearable piece conforms to parts of body describing contours, much like a geologic landform. I am intrigued with laminated plywood as a material to carve and manipulate within the work because of the visual similarity to geologic layers. Garnets are added for both their decorative quality and symbolic healing/ protective properties, adding potency to the likeness of armor. The pieces I create are elegant and yet, demanding of both the wearer and audience for their use of space and definition of the human form. The jewelry pieces serve as a creative statement that can be worn to a special or formal occasion.
Chris Ramsay My artwork incorporates objects I have collected or found, often while on walks in the outdoors or while exploring second-hand shops. The materials I gather are both manmade and natural and are often aged or eroded in some way-- evidencing change. I integrate collected objects into my work as a metaphor for the cycle of physical change by which all materials and objects are affected, including myself. This process provides a vehicle for me to consider my place on earth and my part in nature. My art making is informed by my experience of making and teaching jewelry for over 25 years. I create pieces utilizing techniques and processes rooted in jewelry making. However, the majority of my artwork is sculptural, providing a larger format to apply my ideas and incorporate the multitude of objects that I collect. While arranging found objects in my studio to compose an artwork, I watch as relationships develop between new and old objects and listen to the dialogue that occurs within myself contemplating existence in nature relative to the past, present and future. I understand that my physical body is composed of similar matter as the eroding objects that I collect and begin to comprehend nature’s life-to- death-to-life cycle. I create objects of meditation on my relationship to nature while additionally exploring celebration of place, recycling and collecting, and expressing my concern for environmental preservation.
Lopeeta Tawde My current work is influenced by a phenomenon of bioluminescence, a chemical process in which a living organism catalyzes and releases light from within; this process is also effected by microorganisms living symbiotically within host animal and plant bodies. A specific type of oxidative enzymes is responsible for bioluminescence and in a generic term it is referred to as luciferase or luciferin It is primarily observed in deep-sea marine as well as in terrestrial life. Bioluminescent life forms embody dualities; they are luminous and subdued, beautiful and repulsive, still and active. I use non-traditional materials, silicone, phosphorescent pigments and ultraviolet light, to create a jewelry collection of “wearable creatures” inhabiting an enigmatic and unworldly environment. They are ambiguous, mysterious, luminous and whimsical jewelry pieces synthesizing visual and tactile elements to stimulate their simultaneous experience for viewer and wearer. As “wearable creatures” they exemplify the notion of portraying a blown-up world of microscopically investigated living organisms, simultaneously suggesting their internal growth and decay and their interactions with the body. Similar to bioluminescent life forms, these “wearable creatures” inhabit a life of dualities as they bear and bare their light.