Art of the State Artist Interview – Susan Schulz

The fourth installment of the Art of the State Artist Interview series is PA Guild of Craftsmen member and jeweler extraordinaire, Susan Schulz. You can see from her work and her list of influences why I would want to feature her here. To see more of textured, super gemstoned work, visit her website, Schulz Studio, and of course, visit her earrings at Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2014 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania until September 14th.


susan schulz dreams of australia
Dreams of Australia ( the piece in Art of the State ) ©Susan Schulz opals, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds,18 & 14k gold, sterling

1. How did you get started in your craft?
As an Art major, I took classes mostly in drawing and painting. I wasn’t able to take a jewelry class until my senior year, but as soon as I picked up the saw and started making my first piece, that was it. I knew I had found what I wanted to do. Metalwork has an enormous variety of techniques and materials, and I continue to take workshops to expand my knowledge.

2.What has been inspiring/influencing your work lately?
Seeing the amazing variety of gemstones, minerals, and fossils at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has been inspiring. Every year there are new materials I’ve never seen before, with unusual patterns and textures I can’t wait to incorporate in my designs.

Twilight pendant ©Susan Schulz fossilized palm wood, sterling, sapphire
Twilight pendant ©Susan Schulz fossilized palm wood, sterling, sapphire

3.Who are your favorite artists in you field?
There are so many amazing metalsmiths- it’s really difficult to choose a few. I really like Alexander Calder’s forged jewelry- simple, direct, and whimsical. Michael Boyd’s amazing lapidary work and elegant designs. Claudio Pino’s outrageous, flamboyant rings, David Huang’s beautiful chased vessels.

4.What is your favorite customer quote or story?
My favorite customer quote is “I love it!” as they’re giving me a hug after they see their finished piece for the first time.

5.What is your favorite piece of art or fine craft that you own?
I can’t pick one! My favorite pieces remind me of a trip or the person who made the piece. A dot painting from Australia that inspired a series of pieces with opals and gold dots, a batik of the patron saint of Salvador, Brazil, a print of rock formations from a family trip to the Grand Canyon, and some funny ceramic animals my children made.