2nd Place – Emerging Jewelry Artist 18 Years of Age or Younger
Caroline Senyszyn is a senior in high school and is creating pieces that are whimsical and yet sophisticated at the same time. Just by looking at her piece, “Fairy Necklace,” you can see the intersection of these two aspects. She has been making jewelry for four years now, and this is only the beginning.
About the winning piece:
What materials did you use in your winning piece?
Fairy Necklace is completely hand-fabricated in copper and nickel silver. I have also added pearls.
What processes did you use?
Hand fabrication. Nothing is cast on this piece.
What was the inspiration for the piece?
I was inspired to create a piece that would be dreamy and fanciful, but also something that would fit well around the neck and look good on the person wearing it.
How long did it take to make?
What did you learn from the piece?
I learned how to solder jump rings while being gentle with the torch. I really enjoy working with a torch.
Are you going to sell it?
No, probably not.
Do you think this piece will influence your work going forward?
Yes. It has definitely influenced my work. I try to be really particular and careful with the design and production to make sure everything fits the form correctly, that there is flow in the piece.
Does it reflect your current look/designs?
What do you like most about the piece?
I like that there is a lot of contrast between the color of the copper and silver. It is pleasing and well-balanced.
About the Artist:
Where do you live?
Fort Worth, Texas.
Where do you study jewelry?
I have been studying jewelry at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth. I am 17 and in the 12th grade. Ms. Cheryl Evans has been my teacher for the past four years.
Next year I will be studying architecture in Austin at the University of Texas. And I will continue making jewelry on the side.
When did you discover you loved making jewelry?
It was in my freshman year. I thought that working with the machinery was awesome. I liked creating something in metal that would last a long time.
Do any of your other passions influence your work?
Architecture is a huge interest for me and deeply influences my jewelry designs.
Who is your design/jewelry mentor?
What other types of jewelry have you created?
I started out as a freshman making lost-wax cast pieces. However, I like both lost-wax casting and fabricating.
When are you most creative?
On the weekends when I have a lazy day off.
What is your favorite material to work with?
I really love copper. I feel in a lot of my pieces copper is very neutral and versatile.
What is your differentiator from other designers?
I think my work really considers the human form and how pieces should lie on it.
What do you love about making jewelry?
I love the entire process. My favorite part is the design aspect. I start out by designing the piece on paper and looking at different combinations. When I find the right combination, I fabricate it in metal.
Describe the first piece of jewelry you made?
It was a silver lost-wax cast ring. It is comfortable, and I wear it now even after four years. The design is abstract. I still like it very much.
Are you influenced by trends?
Probably not. But I am influenced by old Hollywood movies and the jewelry they wore in them. Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra comes to mind.
What is the one thing you most love about your studio?
My studio is in the high school. I have my own work desk where I can keep my designs, my books and even have my laptop. It is right near my cutting block. We have locked areas where we can securely keep our things so that they are out of the way for the next classes.
What is the one thing you would change about your studio?
I would probably get an actual jewelry bench. Our current benches are old tables, so you have to bend over to work.
What is your favorite tool?
Probably my torch. I like being in control. You can solder a large piece or something very delicate while being in control of the heat.
What is one word of advice you received when starting to make jewelry?
A lot of the older students told me to be patient and not to give up on my designs. It might not come out the way you want or planned, but it is all part of the process. Then there are times when it does come out perfectly.
What one word of advice would you give beginning designers?
I would advise new students to be patient.
What work inspires you?
Architecture, sculpture and film.
What achievement in your jewelry life are you most proud of?
I am proud of being able to fabricate anything I put my mind to. And I am proud of coming so far with my knowledge and skill at fabrication.
What jeweler would you most like to have dinner with or visit their studio?
I would like to see Ms. Evans’ studio at home.
About the Saul Bell Design Award:
What did you feel when you found out you were a winner?
I was at a clay workshop with my class when they called me and said I had won. Ms. Evans was taking the clay out of the kiln at that moment, but when she set it down, she ran over to me and was so excited.
What made you decide to enter the competition?
Ms. Evans, of course, but also my class took a field trip to Texas Tech to visit the Metals Department. The instructor there encouraged the entire class to enter the Saul Bell Design Award. We were all very excited about the idea of entering.
What other design awards have you won?
I am a national medalist at the Scholastic Arts Award in the Jewelry Category. I am also a two-time state medalist at the Texas UIL Visual Arts Event. And I have won the Fort Worth Stock Show competition.
Interview by Marlene Richey