Q: Although your body of work has a strong, clear point-of-view, it seems like you are interested in many different forms of art; from more straightforward jewelry design, to highly conceptual installation pieces. Is it difficult to choose between these genres?
A: I enjoy creating both jewelry and installations. The two are very similar to me, with the only differences being site and scale. My background is primarily in sculpture. I like to think of the jewelry I create as small sculptural objects.
“I welcome surprises . . . I allow room for the various materials, my mistakes, and new ideas to challenge and guide me throughout the creative process.”
Q: I see that runway models have worn your creations. What was it like getting involved in the fashion world, and do you foresee more involvement in the future?
A: The fashion/jewelry collaboration I participated in during my senior year at Academy of Art University was the highlight of my undergraduate experience. Working with the fashion designers was inspiring, challenging and memorable. Jewelry and fashion appear to go hand in hand in the consumer world, but how garments are made is entirely different than how jewelry is created. The fashion designers connection to the wearer, or what they call their ‘fit model’, is extremely close and necessary. Jewelers can be disconnected from the wearer, so having the opportunity of fitting my sculptures on a live person helped me work out certain design problems. During my first year at University of Illinois, I’ll be exploring new mediums and new processes. I’ve chosen to focus on fabric and sewing, so that I may learn how garments are made, and how to infuse fabric and metal into my new creations.
Q: Your work looks effortless, but I assume it’s not at all. What sort of issues do you run into while creating your pieces? Are there times where you have to scrap them and begin again, or can you always fix mistakes that happen?
A: Throughout my construction process, I am constantly battling a love/hate relationship with the work. Pieces are only completely scrapped in the beginning stages of construction. That said, I’ve had to remake certain components of my design more times than I care to remember, but they always turn out better in the end.
Q: Do you have a clear idea of what the finished product will be when you begin, or are there many surprises that happen during creation? Also, how do you prepare before you begin to execute a piece?
A: I welcome surprises. Larges pieces and installations I sketch out. I allow room the materials, my mistakes, and new ideas to guide me during the creation process.
“When the handle is held, the movement of the carrier’s body activate the pulley wheels, causing them to come alive…”
Q: What sort of equipment do you require to construct these pieces? Describe your studio space.
A: I’ve collected an array of tools over the years. My favorite machine at the moment is my brand new sewing machine. Right now my tools and materials are spread out over three workspaces; my home, graduate studio and graduate jeweler’s bench.
Q: When did you first start designing these sculptural objects? How did you come into this sort of work?
A: I grew up around art. My mother was an installation artist, and my grandfather was the co-director of the Northern California Art Project for the WPA and later was on the San Francisco Art Commission.
Q: When I think of machines, I typically think of something cold, imposing, and rigid. Your “machines”, however, give a very different impression. They are somehow warm, and less intimidating than one might expect. The materials you use are often bits and pieces of bones, nuts, fossils, and other natural materials. Is this something you’ve thought about conceptually? If so, could you elaborate on this?
A: I look for a balance between materials. Sometimes the metal is reacting to the organic materials and other times they are working together.
Q: Are there narratives behind the pieces? “Meditation Machine”, for example, intrigues me with its title. What is the idea behind this one?
A: “Meditation Machine” is a wall piece that I created as part of my “City Living Series”. The wall sculpture was created in response to the cellular devices and gadgets that distract people as they walk along the streets of downtown San Francisco. Often, I am one of these people. Sometimes when I am texting, I loose track of where I am and what is going on around me. I am consumed by the electronic device. “Meditation Machine” is meant to be carried, and to function as a guide to wherever its owner is going. I designed the machine to make it look as though it is reaching out into space. The pulley wheels orbit around the body of the machine while it is being carried. When the handle is held, the movement of the carrier’s body activate the pulley wheels, causing them to come alive and move clockwise or counter-clockwise.
Q: Lastly, who are some of your favorite visual artists?
A: Mirjam Hiller (jewelry), Arthur Ganson (sculpture) and Tara Donovan (installation).