2015 2nd Place - Hollowware/Art Objects
Jeweler and hollowware artist Genevieve Flynn won second place in the Hollowware/Art Objects category of the 2015 Saul Bell Design Awards for her elegantly crafted teapot. She shared a little more about her background and her work with us.
TELL US HOW YOU BECAME A JEWELER.
After being out of high school for two years and working in the secretary field, I decided that I was ready to go to college. I had taken some ongoing silversmithing classes and the instructor suggested that I look into classes at a trade school called the Kansas City School of Watchmaking. Evidently he felt that I had some talent, as I was interested in pursuing a career in archaeology and anthropology. I did take a year to attend the watchmaking school, which also taught jewelry skills and hand engraving. I landed a bench jeweler's job right out of school.
WHAT INSPIRED THE SHIFT FROM MAKING JEWELRY TO MAKING HOLLOWWARE?
Being trained as a goldsmith and working small presented its own challenges. After leaving the trade world, I continued to design and work with jewelry while making some "show" pieces in hollowware. I realized that my passion for hollowware surpassed the jewelry aspect.
At the time I was participating in the ACC shows, and interest was waning in buying a higher-end item in silver jewelry, as many new "jewelry" materials were being introduced into the craft world. Materials such as paper, glass and ceramics made it more difficult to sell a higher-end silver item. It was the start of people being able to buy a disposable or throw-away item. I felt, and still feel, that my pieces are collectables and are to be passed down to others who appreciate and love my work and processes.
I began to make hand mirrors, combs and vanity pieces and then pursued ceremonial items in both the Jewish and Christian religions. I had a great response and following with my fine, sterling silver Judaica, so I chose to do only Judaica items. After leaving the craft show world I really began exploring vessels and hollowware. I have only been making hollowware for the last four or five years.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF CREATING A PIECE OF HOLLOWWARE VS. A PIECE OF JEWELRY?
Jewelry can be very challenging, but I find that what challenges me with the hollowware pieces is the process of putting the piece together.
WHAT'S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WINNING PIECE?
I have always loved nature, which is shown in past and present pieces I have created. I had just finished another piece that had an ocean theme and thought it would be a nice challenge to incorporate my love of bugs with a snake idea.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I am in the process of finishing a contemporary teapot in brass along with a sterling silver form; I have not decided if it will be a teapot or a box.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF MAKING A NEW PIECE?
I love the process of making something. I am a self-taught artist, so drawing is not a strong suit of mine. However, I do a very basic drawing. I am a visual person, so I can see what it is I am making without a very detailed drawing.
WHAT IS THE ONE TOOL YOU COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT?
Chasing tools and pitch
YOU COULD ONLY WEAR ONE PIECE OF JEWELRY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I have a beautiful repoussé bracelet that was just finished. It would have to be that until I sell it! I don't have any problem with letting go of my pieces at this point in my life as I truly enjoy the fact that people wear my work or display it in their homes.
YOU'RE ALSO AN INSTRUCTOR. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT TEACHING?
I enjoy the satisfaction that students walk away with from believing in themselves. From believing that they ARE creative and that they can do anything that they put their minds to.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
At the present time it would have to be to be able to pick out items/materials from the Rio Grande catalogue that will allow me the joy of working on a new creation!
DESCRIBE YOUR BENCH OR STUDIO.
My studio is a warm and inviting place to work within. I have a door that leads to my garden and pond. My bench is situated by a corner of southwest windows that are shaded by a 100-year-old silver maple tree and an equally old pine oak tree. It is only 400 square feet, if that, of working space adjoined with a separate polishing room and sink area. Everyone who comes in comments on how welcoming the studio is. I love it!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE SAUL BELL AWARD?
This is such an important award to me because I started entering competitions and exhibitions a year ago. I had been dormant in the art world for 15 years as I was teaching classes. It was time for me to break out of that mode and be creative again. This award has been a springboard for me in inspiration and an ego boost!
You can see more of Genevieve's work at genevieveflynn.com.