Greetings Modblog, I’m Jen. I’ve been managing BME’s customer support for over 5 years now but this is my first ModBlog post. I hear you can be a tough crowd but I’m going to try my best to keep you happy. For my inaugural post, I thought I’d shine the spotlight on a member of our community with a little Q&A. We often feature practitioners (and they certainly deserve it) but I thought it would be nice to see what other folks are up to. That said, allow me to introduce you to Rachel.
If this beautiful woman looks familiar, that’s because she’s graced ModBlog before, way back in 2007, this time the focus is on the woman and not just her gorgeous mods. Rachel is a metalsmith. She makes what she describes as, ” small, mutated objects out of non-ferous metals (ie: sterling silver, copper, brass and gold) and fiber (mostly merino wool). I also make wearable (yet not practical) jewelry out of those materials.”
Jen: How did you get started?
Rachel: I came to Buffalo State College as an art education major… Then I looked in the mirror and realized that no one would hire me. I was taking a introduction to jewelry course as one of my art education requirements and was really enjoying myself. Things skyrocketed from there. This December, I’ll have obtained my BFA in Metals/Jewelry Design from Buffalo State College and in January my husband (iam: Mr Matt) and I will be heading off to the Baltimore area for me to get my MFA from Towson University.
Jen: What do you most enjoy making?
Rachel: I love making hinges. There’s something about the accuracy and concentration required that is centering and peaceful for me.
I also enjoy centrifugal casting (essentially, you carve something out of wax, invest in it a plaster-like substance, burn the wax out in a kiln and then cast in sterling silver, brass, bronze or gold by using centrifugal force to fling the molten metal into the mold). Centrifugal casting totally makes my day. I’ve only been hit by molten metal twice.
Jen: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Rachel: The idea that I can take wax or sheet metal and make something that questions beauty, our society and makes someone laugh is infinitely rewarding. I can take my ideas about body modification and how I choose to adorn my own body and put it into a context that someone can understand and something that I can focus on. For example, my mother’s mother hadn’t really spoken to me in years because she despised what I was doing to my body… I sent her my artist statement with a hand-made portfolio of some new work that she hadn’t seen yet and all of a sudden everything clicked for her. She understood why I chose to modify my body and how it relates to the pieces I make. We still don’t speak as often as we used to but our conversations are more frequent and genuine.
When looking a photos of Rachel at work, it’s not hard to see what might have prompted that change of heart.
Check out some of the great work Rachel does. The last photo is my favourite.
You can find more out about Rachel and see more of work on her blog and at Craft Haus. If you’re looking for a unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life, check out Rachel’s Etsy shop, Oddly Wearable Designs.
Stay tuned for more write-ups on the incredible folks who make up our community.