1st Place - HOLLOWWARE
David Huang is an internationally recognized, award-winning metalsmith who was born, raised, trained and currently lives in western Michigan. Working full-time as a self-employed artist since 2003, David is represented by galleries around the U.S. His work has been featured in Metalsmith Magazine, American Craft, and numerous other books and publications.
Where did you get the title?
From a series I have been working on for years. So many of my pieces are luminous, and that comes from the gold inside of my vessels. They have an aged sense about them. Timeless beauty— today and for the next hundred years. If I can do that, it hits the core of who we are as humans. That is what I am seeking.
What or who was your inspiration?
My biggest inspiration were the pieces that came before. There are so many directions my pieces can go, and there are
a limitless number of designs. Going deep into the vessel form gives me more vocabulary with which to work. It is all about design.
How long did it take to make the piece?
It was probably 4-5 weeks. Full-time.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in its construction?
There weren’t many huge obstacles. The biggest was that I had never done this design style on this scale. I have confidence working in silver. To get all the proportions right, I designed it in stages. Building and seeing how each stage related to the next one.
Describe yourself in five words?
Intelligent. Very calming presence. Not wildly emotional. My goal is to live a better life in a better way that saves money and allows me to be environmentally conscious. I work to improve the quality of my life. I was able to make it as an artist because I was paying attention to financial issues early on.
Of all the arts and crafts, why did you choose jewelry/objects?
When I was in the 6th grade, I decided I was going to be an artist. My father warned me that I had to be very good at it. I took as many art classes as possible. In high school I took all sorts of art classes and finally took a jewelry class, and the first day I held a saw and cut metal I realized I had found my art medium. I loved the exquisite control. In high school I started selling pieces immediately to other students and teachers. In college I focused on film, but in the end chose the solo route in jewelry. Jewelry was not my passion as much as working in metal and exploring various metal works. Eventually I landed on vessels. It took off from there. The gold made my work have a larger perceived value, and I would cover all my expenses and time.
Do you have any advice for those starting out in the jewelry world?
Learn to control your finances! That is huge! Also, it is important to do a lot of drawings. Just drawing in general. It is a skill/technique which helps you see details and relationships between objects. It helps you learn to see. I did a lot of figure drawing, seeing and capturing the minute details in the images. It is hard to learn in any other way except by doing thousands of drawings.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Creating timeless beauty. Carefully choosing all the materials and resources that go into a piece that will endure, that will hopefully be passed on and valued long after I am gone.
Who has been most supportive in helping your business grow?
I have received help from so many sources including SNAG. I like to think about my relationship with my stores as a partnership.
What is your favorite tool?
The hammer. I love simple tools. Hammers are wonderful.
Describe your studio.
It is scattered throughout my homestead. I call it the Hobbit Hole. It has its own solar panel system. I produce all my own power. I have built it myself. It is a passive solar, earth-bermed and off-grid studio.
Interview by Marlene Richey