An artist’s particular, unique style can be influenced by any number of things. Their environment, personal life, hobbies, and memories can all play a part. Jewelry artist Ashley Buchanan draws on the images, patterns, and decoration of historical jewelry. By repeating this iconic imagery, she is able to create work that feels new and yet familiar, referencing the history of jewelry with a fresh, clean aesthetic.
“As a maker, it is my intention to challenge the conventions of handmade jewelry through the use of inexpensive materials and new approaches to design and surface decoration. I am interested in a reality that exists through images and representations and how the appearance of an object can substitute for the original. Utilizing silhouettes allows me to reduce these images down to their most basic form and reference the history of jewelry with a clean, contemporary aesthetic. This is reinforced through the use of powder coating, a process commonly used on an industrial scale to coat or color large metal objects with a durable, uniform finish. By using a limited color palette of black, white, greys and the occasional pop of yellow, I am able to allude to common colors of metal such as silver, gold and oxidized metal.”
“Every piece of jewelry begins as a drawing on paper that I glue to a piece of sheet metal, each piece of jewelry is meticulously hand-pierced from this sheet metal using a traditional jeweler’s saw. After filing, sanding, hammering and cleaning I then begin the powder coating process. This method of painting electrostatically covers metal with a dry pigment, which is then cured under heat to create a durable, uniform finish.”
Continuing to challenge herself, Buchanan shared with us that she is expanding to include some water jet cutting into her process, allowing her the space and time to focus on creating new work.
The intersection of new and old is one that captivates and entices us — the nod to tradition and the promise of the future. This next generation of artists who are using new techniques and technologies to push their art into new directions is truly refreshing, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.