Ornament - Contemporary Jewelry with Mallory Wetherell

Thoughts and Process in Jewelry Making

What made you want to start working in jewelry?
The first pieces I made were after the election.  I was feeling a bit helpless. And in an attempt to not feel totally hopeless, I made some porcelain pendants with safety pin paintings on them.  Only three – for my sister, mom, and I.  And then others began to request that I make more.  From the proceeds, I was able to donate 20% to Planned Parenthood.  I enjoyed the process of making them, so I began to expand the imagery, sourcing bits of pieces from my sculptural work.  I continue to donate portions of the sales from my jewelry to organizations that support causes whose values I believe in. 


How has your jewelry making informed your other studio practice?
My jewelry is quick to make in comparison to my sculptural line of work.  So I’m able to treat them like miniature “canvases” to try out new patterns and imagery.  My surfacing process demands a lot of time, so these smaller items allow me a greater opportunity to play in the studio, and they often provide a needed break when I’m frustrated with a sculpture.  I’m also a mom, so studio time is sacred and I have to take it when I can get it.  I might not have a large window to get a new sculpture started, but I can at least keep my hands busy and be engaged with my studio through making jewelry.  My jewelry has a similar aesthetic to my sculptures, so in a way it makes my work more affordable and accessible as well.

Technical Descriptions
With my jewelry, I utilize the same process for applying imagery as I do with my sculptures.  I will either do a sketch on paper, which I then transfer onto tracing paper, flipping it to apply it to bone dry clay – or I draw with pencil right onto the bone dry clay.  Any mistakes are easily rubbed away, allowing for a fresh start.  I then use Duncan Underglazes, treating them like watercolors, to paint in the details.  I then bisque them to 04, apply glaze, fire to 6 (allowing the underglaze to flux a bit, as it’s meant to stay at a lower temperature), and finally luster them, firing to 018.


For more information about Mallory, check out her website: http://www.mallorywetherell.com/

Ornament - Contemporary Jewelry with Kari Radasch

Thoughts on Jewelry

I have always been interested in how nostalgia and memory becomes embedded in domestic objects. I think about this a lot when I make my work. Dishes, for example, have the unique ability to hold a warm, sentimental place in our lives. I often use motifs that recall a sense of discovery or a moment of joy and wonder. In my pots this can be seen as a rain cloud, a confetti storm, or the discovery of a unique feather. I started thinking about these sentimental collections as charms on a bracelet or necklace, and began literally using charms in my work a year ago. I like that these collected charms are unique to each of us and I also love the magical implications to the word “charm”. It has a sensibility that is both fun and “charming”. I used them first on my whiskey cups, where the cup, the charm and the act of drinking sparked a moment of reflection, interruption, and delight.

For over twenty years I have been jousting with the same set of dualities; notions of minimalism and excess, and kitsch and high art. In this vein, the idea of the classic gold and silver charm bracelet was devilishly undermined by my memory of my vintage 80’s Bell charm necklace. I loved the synthetic colors, chattering plastic, the immense selection of charms, and the endless ways to personalize my chain. My necklaces are a response to this recollection and also a celebration of clay, earthenware, the garden, my hands, memory, magic and the act of “making special”.

To learn more about Kari and her work, click here: http://kariradasch.com/

Ornament - Contemporary Jewelry with Joanna Powell

Thoughts about Jewelry

What we choose to wear tells us a lot about a person. It’s a way to express our individuality and it just feels good to wear things we love. I never leave the house without earrings on. They are a staple in my everyday adornment. 

I began making jewelry as a way to think about surface and to have a change of pace in the studio.  Scale influences surface. I found that with the small scale of the earrings, I gave myself more permission to get wild with pattern.  I draw inspiration for pattern from paintings, junk stores, and from looking around everyday. Making jewelry has allowed me to let go of the rules I’d given myself in my studio practice and play with an expanded palette.  

To learn more about Joanna, check out her website: http://joannapowellstudio.com/

Artist - Joanna Powell

Artist - Joanna Powell

Finished pieces

Finished pieces

Works in progress

Works in progress