Sometimes my most inspired pieces are created when I let the unique qualities of the materials be my guide. As a metalsmith, the possibilities of construction and design are only limited by my imagination. Often, my most creative pieces are designed with a general concept at first, but soon take their own shape as I piece them together and discover design solutions to make the piece both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The Stingray ring was inspired by the Stingray Collar, an extravagant statement neck piece which I designed and constructed with the same type of process. Both pieces take on an otherworldly aesthetic and play with concepts of wings and flight. This ring was showcased for the first time at the Los Angeles Fashion Council's Los Angeles Fashion Week Press Presentation on March 12, 2014 in Downtown Los Angeles.
As a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, I am constantly seeking out knowledge of my tribe's history and culture. My art work is a way for me to explore the world of my ancestors. By interpreting their designs into my own jewelry pieces, I am bringing their world view and visual language into my every life. The woodpecker is one of the symbols that I am particularly drawn to. It is found incised on pottery and engraved into shell gorgets from Moundville, the ancient mound city that the Chickasaw people are connected to. These designs are probably based off of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker which made the southeastern swamplands it's home but is now feared to be extinct due to loss of habitat. The woodpecker appears in Chickasaw stories and is considered to be a guardian figure. You can view video of other Chickasaw artists and leaders discussing the significance of the woodpecker on ChickasawTV
I usually start the design process by drawing the piece to scale on graph paper and then rough carving the shapes into wax with files. The wax starts off as a solid sheet and is very hard to allow for intricate carving. I then continue to carve and add in detail with wax carving tools in a variety of tips. This piece took about 20 hours of carving.
The finished wax (above) is then cast in silver through the lost wax process. The silver piece is then molded so that multiples can be made in different types of metals. The finished bracelet is cast in silver or in bronze with a rose gold plating. It is set with a bright turquoise colored amazonite and is attached to a band of woven leather.
The KDD headquarters recently re-located to Downtown Los Angeles and we feel very fortunate to be a part of such a vibrant and creative community. It's amazing how so many new small businesses are popping up on every corner, from restaurants to shopping to fine art Downtown is quickly becoming a cultural and shopping mecca. Industry DTLA is one of these hip, new venues. They feature a luxe hair salon and a boutique which carries local clothing and accessory designers. We are excited to be hosted by Industry DTLA for a trunk show on Sunday, December 15th during the Downtown LA shop walk. We will have champagne to celebrate the occasion and will be running some special holiday promotions. The event runs from 12pm to 6pm.