I cannot remember a time when I did not know I was an artist. Yet, for many years, I earned my living doing things that I was conditioned to think were “proper” career choices. After spending perhaps too much time exploring those other avenues, I eventually answered the siren and decided to pursue art full-time. I earned my BFA in Sculpture from Louisiana State University, and my MFA in Metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy, one of the finest schools for Art & Design in the world. Although I spent the last twenty years primarily teaching art jewelry design and production, it became more and more crucial for me to produce my own pieces. This is what I need to do to be complete, as an artist and a person.
My work tends to be jewelry and small sculpture, with the occasional hollow ware piece thrown in for a change of pace. Usually, the pieces are fabricated and hand wrought. I love metal because it is so compliant. I crave texture, patinas and surfaces saturated in detail. Shiny surfaces have their place and to me, that place is to contrast with and accentuate the other surfaces. Much of my work relates to landscapes…be they real or imagined…and a natural aesthetic.
Visual Texture as a Style
I am fascinated by the richness of the many kinds of surfaces we encounter in our everyday world, especially those that we find in nature. When I began in the jewelry business, there was only one kind of surface finish − bright polish. Mirror surfaces were the currency of the commercial industry. Yet, I found them distracting. The pieces being designed at the time were about reflecting everything around them and had little to do with the surface itself, other than the fact that it was smooth. Bright finishes are a beautiful thing but they are fragile. One scratch can derail the look.
An important aspect of my art is surface. I tend to use soft finishes and rich textures, many of them patterned after those I find in nature. Often, bright finishes are still found but used as accents and for contrast. I want you to see the surface; to engage the visual complexity of the layered textures to be found there. Everything has its place.
Methods & Techniques
Although I have been trained in a wide variety of techniques, my muse keeps bringing me back to chasing, repousse, forming, and fabrication. Some pieces incorporate Keum Boo (a Korean technique for applying 24k gold to silver), precious gems, semi-precious stones or dichroic glass. Who knows what might get incorporated tomorrow?
Lately, I have done more serious drawing. I prefer pencil, graphite and color. I tend to cover the same subjects I use for my metal, landscape, botanical and realistic subjects. I use archival materials whenever possible and have started trying to find ways to expand past the drawing into a treatment of space beyond the picture plane. See my work called The Stream found in the Sculptural Works gallery.
I work in fine silver, sterling silver, gold in 14K and up, brass, copper and additional non-metal elements. Components used to construct pieces are carefully chosen to convey the message of the piece precisely.
A question that I encounter frequently is whether or not a piece is it silver? Many people have not seen silver in any other form but bright. However, silver in its natural state is a beautiful white metal that works wonderfully and shows off various surface textures readily. Because many of the surfaces I create are closer to those found in nature, they are less susceptible to showing damage or the effects of wear and tear over time and are more easily restored.
My work is easy to care for. Since oxidation is one of the patinas I use, some amount of discoloration is an integral part of the piece. If too much oxidation develops on the surface, simply wipe horizontally a few strokes across the surface with a green and yellow scouring pad, the kind used for dish washing. Often, this was the finishing step to create the satin surface it now has. One word of caution for my pieces, or others like mine -- do not use Tarnex or similar chemical oxidation removal products because they remove the patina.
Owning Original Art
All of my studio jewelry, sculpture, hollow ware and wall hangings are one of a kind. Even if I pursue a series, as I do occasionally, they are still unique, and each is expertly handmade. Your piece always comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a Certificate of Authenticity, upon request.