July 28, 2021
Q: Where did you study Jewelry/Metalsmithing and when?
A: University of Washington, Metalwerx School for Jewelry, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts
Q: What inspires your work?
A: My creative inspiration comes from many sources - vernacular design, ancient and indigenous handicraft, and vintage textiles to name a few. Stories that involve mysticism and superstition, and the boundary between civilization and wildness intrigue me. My use of talismans, totems, amulets and mementos relates to the symbols and characters in mythological stories that are reiterated in every culture in every era. To me, these stories reveal our collective effort to understand and come to terms with the world that surrounds us and our place in it. I am fascinated with myths and folklore that recount heroic adventures and connect us to a larger purpose – stories that express the mystery and complexity of the human experience and the relationships that influence and inspire us.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece you've made?
A: A Constellation Pendant Necklace. Stars have been a constant inspiration for humanity. Ancient civilizations saw stories in the relationships of stars and for them the night sky came alive with gods and goddesses, animals and mythical creatures. This pendant is inspired by the majestic and untouchable heavens above, the journey of life, and the Latin phrase Per Ardua Ad Astra, meaning “through adversity to the stars”. Created with powdered glass and 24k gold, set in a sterling silver bezel with gold accents.
Q: What made you want to start making jewelry?
A: I've always been a maker of things. I think I realized this when I took shop class in middle school and really excelled at wood working and welding. I grew up in a small farming town with a land-grant university, which combined access to arts and culture with rural community and agriculture as a way of life. As a kid I spent summers going to Girl Scout Camp and Pioneer Camp – making shelters and navigating hiking trails while learning the history and skills of pioneers and the culture and stories of the indigenous people of the Northwest Plateau. I always enjoyed designing and building, and after dabbling in many different craft disciplines I found I gravitated to creating jewelry. I was intrigued by the symbolism of status and storytelling mixed together with fashion and style.
Q: What is your favorite process? Why that one over others?
A: For me, the process of creation, from researching and brainstorming to sketching and modeling, selecting materials and fabricating, is in itself inspiring. As someone who studied architecture, I am really committed to Process with a big ‘P’ — the preparation, the quick sketches, color studies, testing, discarded ideas, experimenting, and exploring. Contrary to what people may think, the process of making art does not involve a strike of lightning that immediately leads straight to a beautiful, sellable, artwork. It involves a lot of trial and error, or better put - research and development: mapping out the design, testing ideas, making mistakes and learning from them, choosing which mistakes are innovations, slowly progressing and ultimately finding insight because of all the hard work and time you have put into it. All this is behind the scenes, and sometimes not realized or appreciated by the public - but it is so important to understand how art is created.
Q: Who is your favorite artist/who do you wear?
A: I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to take a workshop with the goldsmith Michael Good at Metalwerx in Waltham MA, an incredible artist and instructor, and very charming. My go-to jewelry is pair of gold Torque hoops that look to me like ancient goddess earrings, yet feel timeless and chic with every outfit.
Q: Is there an artist on your personal wishlist that you hope to own one day?
A: Pat Flynn’s work is spectacular, with meticulous details like tiny hinges and precise clasps. I took a workshop with Pat at Metalwerx in Waltham MA, and he has a warm personality and is so down-to-earth, but also a little rebellious - I totally love his rocker glam esthetic.
Q: What is something you would want someone to know about your work that they might not know?
A: As a child I was an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy - this genre, with its wonder, imagination and, of course, gadgets, exposed me to science and technology, and is probably one of the reasons I became a jewelry designer. I wanted to wear the jewelry from Star Trek and have the purse from Escape to Witch Mountain!
Q: When you're not making jewelry, what are you doing?
A: I love to travel, and to meet people and hear their stories. Travel is an opportunity to challenge myself and to learn from another cultural perspective, and is fundamental to my design thinking. A few years ago my husband and I had an opportunity to travel to Chiapas Mexico on a textile tour with Tia Stephanie Tours, learning about the textile traditions and cultural expressions of the Highland Maya people. They are amazing craftspeople!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Fundamental to my design is the idea that when we feel connected to our past and present, we can have an easier time facing the future. I really believe that personal history has staying power and that it never goes out of style. Because jewelry is imbued with the stories and emotions that connect us with our beliefs and to our ancestors, it can be a powerful symbol, transporting us to our memories and dreams. That is what makes jewelry great for marking important moments in your life. I think jewelry of different styles, eras and esthetics can look beautiful together and I love looks that are layered, mixed with different materials and metals, and that are high/low. Jewelry can transform an outfit, so be fearless and tell your unique story.
A: The incredible range of vibrant colors is what drew me to enamel, and the idea that I could create and control unique focal points for my work. But immediately I realized, what I found really exciting with enamel is the ability to create the most beautiful textures and layers with luminous depth and seductive reflections. The luminosity of glass has a mystical quality I really love. To create layers in glass requires that each distinct layer be applied and fired in a kiln, step by step.
A: Luminosity! Enamel is such a dynamic and alluring medium. Glass, and the combination of glass on metal, can catch and reflect light, creating an inner glow especially when translucent or transparent enamels are used. Opaque colors with bright glossy surfaces or luscious matte finishes have beautiful depth as well. And once fired, the intense colors never fade.
Enameling is one of the oldest forms of surface decoration, and was probably used to add color without having to rely on gemstones. Over the centuries it has evolved into such a versatile medium, in technique, scale and spectrum of colors, and in the range of objects it can be applied to. And, enamel is an incredible story telling medium. Pictorial or abstract, graphic or painterly, you can express so much with enamel.
CLICK HERE to view Jenne's collection
August 24, 2021