“How value is determined is cultural, political, and subjective; in Western culture, extrinsic or utilitarian value is prioritized, often to the detriment of the natural environment that supports all life.
This body of work considers this phenomenon; while staying true to the materialistic function of adornment, these pieces nod to intrinsic, holistic value by incorporating typically undervalued, overlooked, or discarded elements found in the natural world. Bone, for example – often unacknowledged and even considered taboo – takes a prominent role in my pieces. Through this work, I subtly urge those to take a second look; to question what is typically valued, what is not, and why.
Doing this work constantly prompts me to (re)consider as well; my process of sustainably and ethically foraging plants and bones connects me to the natural world in a profound and dynamic way – my love and fascination forever grows deeper with each new discovery, reminding me to slow down and look deeper. ” -Anna Johnson
Anna Johnson, Asheville, NC
Anna Johnson is a studio artist, craftswomen and educator residing in Asheville, NC. Art a very young age she stumbled upon jewelry making and from then on it became not only her creative outlet, but a space of untampered personal expression that guided her through her educational, professional, and personal development. Equally taken by the depths of the natural world, organic elements began to be her main source of inspiration as her language in jewelry developed.
While earning her BFA in metalsmithing at Appalachian State University, her sister was simultaneously earning her PHD in cultural studies, focusing heavily on human behaviors within cultures and their impact on the environment. The siblings often caught up on the phone, consistently leading to deep conversations about Laura’s studies, often involving the tragedies taking place within our ecosystem due to the blind eye turned by the majority of the population. These conversations seeped into Anna’s consciousness, thus inevitably making their way into her work.
Today her work revolves around the question of where and why our culture perceives value by creating jewelry – often used to display worth, lineage, cultural hierarchy, believe affiliations, etc – with raw elements from directly from the natural world, unique and unpretentiously beautiful, in efforts of providing a fresh line of visual communication, a display of acknowledgment, consciousness, and in alliance with our natural world.