We have been showing Joanna’s work for nearly 10 years in the gallery. Her relationship with the school has changed from student, to studio assistant, to extraordinary Penland instructor. She has been published quite a bit, including authoring a number of really smart metals books herself. Her work evolves and reinvents itself – pulling in some surprising materials and reinterpreting traditional techniques in ingenious ways. The body of work we have been showing this spring is from her Prong Series – cut stones – some polished and others matte and rough – mostly set in delicate but exaggerated prong settings or clustered luxuriantly. Not surprisingly, the work has a magnetic attraction.
My grandmother spent a large part of her life as an enamelist. In 1992, she gave me all her enamels and her enameling kilns. I decided to learn how to use them by taking a class at the Penland School of Crafts. I enjoyed this basic metalsmithing and enameling class so much that I set up my own beginner’s studio in the basement of the English building at my college. I continued to make jewelry while still studying for my BA degree. After graduating from Warren Wilson College in 1995, I went back to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology where I received a 2-year degree in Jewelry Design, after studying with some of New York’s most fabulous industry jewelers and designers. I began my jewelry business in 1997, and I currently spend my time making jewelry, teaching people how to make jewelry, and just absolutely loving my job. I live in my hometown of Asheville, NC with my husband, our son, two dogs, and a cat.
About the Work
My work is based on elementary design forms. I love using repetition of simple shapes in ways that make the forms come alive. It is exciting for me to explore the relationship of my hands with tools, and the tools with the material. I am interested in movement in my jewelry, and how the jewelry will move in relationship to the body when it is worn. I strive to make jewelry that is interesting and new, that reflects my way of looking at how things should be made, and that is wearable without going out of style.