Q: How is your work created?
A: For my metal work I first create a design. I do this by either hand drawing it or working on the computer. All designs are refined and eventually perfected on the computer.
When I get the design I'm happy with I produce an image on either a brass or copper sheet. The substrate is then chemically etched to produce a 3-dimensional relief. Once the etching is to the point I want it I then finish each piece by filing the edges and rounding the corners. Then I add a patina to the piece. Since each process is dependent on many elements each piece ends up being one of a kind. The patina or the etch can greatly change the look of the piece. In the end each piece is "perfectly imperfect".
For my driftwood pieces I really explore the wood to find the perfect pieces to turn into pendants. I pick the pieces based on the wood grain and or shape. Most of the pieces look very dull and ugly until they are oiled so it's almost impossible to tell what the tone the wood will take on until the very end. After I pick each piece I determine how they will hang with the other pieces I'm going to add to the necklace. These are usually pieces of sea pottery or custom etched pieces that I produce. I then paint the wood with 1 or 2 different colors. After all of that the piece is oiled with a natural oil and waxed to help seal the paint.
For my modern wood pieces I'm really looking for the perfect color of wood with the perfect woodgrain. I use a variety of woods, but my favorites are wenge, lacewood, bloodwood, and mahogany. Once I determine where the best grain is in the wood I cut my pieces down to size. From there I add brass tubing to accent the piece as well as give it a way to hang. After the pieces are assembled I either paint each piece or add copper leaf or gold leaf to each piece.
Q: How do your pieces wear?
A: All of my pieces are created with natural materials and I always try to keep the finishes as natural as possible. For all most of all of my pieces the final product is oiled with a natural oil like orange oil and then sealed with wax. In some cases (gold and copper foil) the pieces must be sealed with a polyurethane to guarantee a long wearing piece.
All natural items including brass an copper will develop it's own patina based on use and the owner of the piece over time.
Q: Where do the influence for your designs come from?
A: Overall, I'm influenced by the everyday surroundings around me. The beautiful natural setting of the Upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina are a big part of that in the nature pieces. I love the idea of a story in a piece of jewelry. The driftwood pieces with sea pottery are great examples of that - you have no idea how old that pottery is or from what part of the world the elements of traveled. My design background also help me in creating texture and geometric designs that interest me.