Art - Jewelry - Susan Chin
My journeys with jewelry started with a handed down box of tools and a class at the "Y", which was across the street from my apartment in Philadelphia. There was a bit of ebony and bone in this inherited box which I used in some of these earliest projects.
I didn't pick them up again for 18 years, choosing to work mostly in precious metals, but these warm, compelling materials have recently led my metalwork down paths that I gladly follow. Other materials I employ are sterling and fine silver, 18 and 22 karat yellow golds, shakudo (a copper and gold alloy), pearls, Australian boulder opals, mirrors, mokume gane, glass and other unobtainium.
After Philadelphia, I spent several formative years learning metalsmithing at Penland School in the maternal hills of North Carolina. I now live in northern California where my bench with its tools and wooden table, the metals, bone, eyes and mind have been the primary instructors and collaborators.
My ideas and inspiration derive from the collective experiences and encounters of my waking and imaginative life. I love the forms of the natural world . . . the clever seed pods, the designs of the human body, floppy microorganisms. A brooch or a ring emerges from my stash of materials and is coaxed and teased into physical form until it is a thing which can be cherished. In many cases the process of working itself is the catalyst for a new idea . . . works in progress that have a more gritty personality than the smoothed out facade that I thought I was aiming for. One thing leading to another.
I see most of my pieces as installments in an ongoing conversation that I started many pieces and many years ago.