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artist interview 2011-07-06

This week, I was interviewed, by a group of my peers, Metalsmiths Unite!
If you’d like to read it, I encourage you to pop over the The Metalsmiths Unite! Blog where it’s posted and have a look 🙂
Here’s what you’ll learn:
1. How would you describe what you do as an artist?
2. What inspires your designs?
3. How long have you been involved in this type of making?
4. Where are you located?
5. Do you have a website or etsy/artfire/1000market etc store?
6. What other ways do you market your work?
7. Do you teach? if so, where?
8. Any sage advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
9. Where do you envision your work going in the next year?
10. Anything else you would like to share?
How would you describe what you do as an artist?
I am a Metalsmith. I specifically say Metalsmith, not “jeweler”, or “silversmith”…. I don’t want to be confined, and I want to work with everything.

What inspires your designs?
My designs come from Whatever inspires me in the moment. I don’t have a “defined” signature style, that is Ever Present in my work. My designs continue to change and grow all the time – influenced by what it going on in my life at the time…. Though, there is a mix with underlying themes that have been present in my creative process for many years.

It might be a feeling from a movie; a feeling present in my life, or a walk in the forest, a beautiful day skiing, reading an article, looking thru a book, or something as simple- and more likely – as just seeing what I have in front of me and letting them tell me what they want to become. My work flows from within. A lot of the time, I may have no idea (specifically), what I want to create. So I pull out the stone box, rifling thru it until I find the ones speaking to me… and then allow what they may be to speak – rings, pendants, combinations I want to put together… I build work up from there~ as it allows me to create in a spontaneous way. I find, most of the work I am most pleased with is created in this way of allowing it to happen. Instead of confining it to a fixed idea or outcome. I just let it flow. Some days I know I want to make “rings”. (I love making rings the most, incidentally) And so I start with the idea “rings”. and go from there.

How long have you been involved in this type of making?
I took my first Jewelry courses in the summer of 1994 in New Mexico, taking art classes at the Taos Institute of Art. Though I also took photography, and pottery; the metalsmithing courses immediately had me hook line and sinker. I have been hooked and creating ever since.

Since that summer, I have continued to learn and grow as an craftsperson, and have spent as much time as I can creating with metal.

I have had the opportunity over the years to spend bits of time working under and with several very talented Master Silversmiths and Goldsmiths; and have completed the “Bench Technician” Course at Revere Academy.

Where are you located?
Currently I live in Southern BC, Canada; in a small Mountain community called Rossland. I have been resident to this area for about 5 years now. The community is nestled in the high mountains, with access to skiing, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, fresh air and endless forest. It is located 7 miles north of the USA boarder, north Spokane, Washington. It’s quiet, remote, and unpopulated. A bit of a desert from the Arts community, but the internet keeps me in constant communication with metalsmithing peers worldwide.

Do you have a website or etsy store?
Yes – of course 🙂

What other ways do you market your work?
I do at times show in galleries; but currently only show & sell my work online. I am open to the right locations. However, I have found the internet to be a fabulous gallery lately, with it’s worldwide audience.

Do you teach?
I do not currently teach (I have been an assistant in the past) Though, it is definitely in my future plans.

Any sage advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
Technique technique technique. Work on honing, improving, and expanding your skills ALL the time. With a quiver of good solid skills you can create anything.

You can do a lot , with only a few tools. It may take longer, but it’s possible, so don’t be discouraged by not having a studio with everything in it. Be creative. There are great books – Like “Cheap Thrills in The Tool Shop”, by Charles Lewton-Brain.

There are two points here I really want to stress – One is not “copying”; the second is that with all the Metalsmiths there are today; having an excellent skill set will set you apart from the crowd.

When you’re beginning really, truly focus on finding “Your Voice”. That which makes you unique. Your creative edge. The thing that makes the work Yours. It’s easy to look thru books and online pages to draw inspiration, and with it comes the strong desire to replicate what you see…. but please don’t. It’s very important to respect these designs as the Original Artist’s work. Instead, choose to filter what inspires you thru your very own creative lenses, let it flow thru your hand, and become uniquely yours.

Finding your unique Voice will set you apart. Trust that, when you create what really is within you, it creates a special Alchemy within your works, and shines out to your audience. You will set yourself apart in the sea of many; and trust that this is a very good thing. There will be people who will Love your work; specifically because it is unique, and different, and is a true piece of art within itself. It carries your essence in it. I feel; if you are uninspired in your creations, people will intristically feel this. So work to find your place of inspiration, and make your creations Your Own. Find your Voice. And do it with the best skills you can execute, always. Don’t cut corners, or skimp on supplies. Take your time, do it right. Always.

Where do you envision your work going in the next year?
I see new collaborations with artist; Master Silversmith Rick Montano; more inclusion of colours (in new ways aside from stones); new designs and styles; even expanding materials and new techniques….Lots of new directions! We will see, but I think it is going to be very exciting.

Anything else you would like to share?
I like to go play outside and stay active, as I am sure you guessed. It’s no accident I live where I do..… And, I do it all!

I currently work full time doing Computer Aided Design and Drafting. I do Website design in a small scale way. I’m learning to play banjo, and fiddle. I like to do photography stuff. I’m always learning new skills in the workshop. I enjoy blogging and Writing. Hangin’ with my Felines. I like to garden too, but sadly, I live in an apartment right now.

Disclaimer* I co-administer the blog for Metalsmith’s Unite, where you are reading this. (June 2011)

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