November 06, 2020
Read our interview with Emilie Pritchard below. November, 2020
Q: Where did you study Jewelry/Metalsmithing and where? If you didn't study in school, what was your mode of learning? (Self taught, workshops, skill shares, etc.)
A: I am entirely self-taught. Since I live in a smallish city with limited access to other artists, it has been by books, online, and mostly by making, making, making.
Q: What inspires your work?
A: I love the clarity of geometry. I find myself looking at bridge trusses, cell phone towers and other engineered structures in new ways. I've made pieces based on the trusses on the highway that hold the overhead signs, as well as bridges and buildings.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece you've made? (See photo below)
A: Like many artists, I'm often fondest of my most recent work. I've chosen 2 pieces because I go back and forth between tightly controlled, often symmetrical pieces and more freeform ones, and the interplay between these 2 styles keeps me fresh.
Q: What made you want to start making jewelry?
A: I spent many years as a rugweaver. In that work I created geometric patterns, but, of course, they were flat ones. When I started "playing" with beads, I was immediately intrigued by the ability to work in 3D. I thought my focus would be vessels, but started making jewelry as a learning process, because you learn more quickly from lots of small pieces than from a few big ones. But the jewelry caught me, and became my primary outlet. I loved that I could actually wear a piece after it was made, instead of putting it on a shelf and waiting for the next art festival. And because my jewelry tends toward a casual look, it is good fit for the life I lead.
Q: What is your favorite process? Why that one over others?
A: My process, building geometric structures out of metal tubes joined with thread, is pretty much the same for all pieces. But I have 2 basic shapes--the triangle and the quadrilateral--that I use, and they give quite different results. A triangle is inherently rigid and produces work that is fairly firm and lends itself to the controlled pieces that are my natural bent. For a long time I felt I couldn't use 4 sided shapes because they were too "floppy" for me, but I've learned to control that with a stiff thread, and now I love the freeform-ness I can get with those shapes, and the way it stretches me in new directions.
Q: Who is your favorite artist/who do you wear? (See photos below)
A: I love works with a narrative quality, partly because it's the complete opposite of what I do. One of my favorites in this line is Carolyn Morris Bach, whose work speaks of woodlands and mythic creatures.
Q: Is there an artist on your personal wishlist that you hope to own one day?
A: I'm more of a looker that an acquirer, but I love the work of John Garrett, and his complete freedom in his use of materials and techniques.
Q: What is something you would want someone to know about your work that they might not know?
A: It's hard to tell from pictures, but the work, while firm enough to hold its shape, does move in a way that a soldered piece doesn't, and is quite comfortable to wear.
Q: When you're not making jewelry, what are you doing?
A: My husband and I are avid boaters, having been in the sailboat business for 40 years. Recently we've spent 2-3 months each year on a narrowboat (owned by a wonderful jewelry artist and friend, Lauran Sundin and her husband) on the canals and rivers in England. The pandemic put a stop to that this year, but we're itching to get back to it again.
One of Emilies Favorite pieces
One of Emilie's favorite pieces.
Emilie on a boat! Something she enjoys doing when she's not making jewelry, although she added sometimes she makes jewelry on the boat as well!
Carolyn Morris Bach, as mentioned above as one of Emilie Pritchard's favorite artists.
Image was sourced from Carolyn's website, all credits go to her and her photographer.
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