Air Chased Jewelry Set ©2015 WTEK sterling silver, brass
Air Chased Jewelry Set ©2015 WTEK sterling silver, brass
Here's the backs ©2015 WTEK
Here’s the backs ©2015 WTEK

That’s right, I still make jewelry too! Remember I was working on a new set? Well, that 6 x 6″ piece of air chased sterling silver became a necklace, a cuff, & a pair of earrings! I’m super psyched to wear them this Sunday at the Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2015 opening at the State Museum in Harrisburg. Hopefully I’ll see you there and you can see these pieces, Fragmented, and bunch of other great art by other great artists too! 2 – 5pm! And teal hair!

Earrings close-up ©2015 WTEK
Earrings close-up ©2015 WTEK
Cuff work ©2015 WTEK
Cuff work ©2015 WTEK

What Do You Consider “Art”?

Which one is really art?
Which one is really art? Of course, only one of these was in Art of the State

Lately, I’ve been asked a lot about my painting. You’re probably sitting there thinking, “I thought she was a metalsmith?” Yes, yes I am. But I am an artist and before finding the fabulousness of pounding metal with a hammer, I did a variety of other art forms – drawing, painting, ceramics, photography. This, of course, was mostly in high school and college.

I never considered myself a painter and yet I still consider myself an artist. Is it possible to be an artist who doesn’t paint? Or one who doesn’t draw? What exactly IS art?


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here, here, and here for example) there is this (false) notion that art only involves certain media. Strangely some people consider performing arts (like dance, theater, or music) more of an art form than the practical/decorative arts of many craftspeople. Others think that writing is an art, but ceramics is something that retired people do to fill their time.

What is it about making with your hands a tangible object that is beautiful, but perhaps functional that moves this practice out of the realms of “art” and into some other, lesser realm.

No one form of art is any more or less than any other. Metalsmithing is just as valid (and “art worthy”) as improvisational jazz, expressionistic painting, or “high literature.” Even within the categories of kinds of art there are further, smaller categories that are looked down on (can you say sci-fi or metal-core?) Why are we so judgmental of this? Is it because it’s so subjective? Or do we just want to feel like what we like is all that matters?

I guess it’s probably a little of both.

What do YOU think constitutes art? Are any particular media less “art worthy” than others? Give us YOUR opinion in the comments.

You Add Some, You Lose Some

Partially cut out nickel.
Take it away, take it away, take it away now.

When an artist creates a piece of work, she works in one of two ways – additive or subtractive. In one, you build up, or add on to a sculpture or surface. In the other you take away, or subtract from it.

Most painting is an additive process – you apply paint in layers onto a canvas. Carving is a subtractive way to work. The artist starts with a block of marble or wood and chips away “everything that isn’t the statue.”

So which way do I work?

Cut out portion of the bowl.
Subtracting part of Cascade ©2014 WTEK

I’m not sure what you would consider the techniques used to shape sheet metal – hollowforming, foldforming, chasing & repoussé. These just alter the shape of the metal without taking away or adding anything. It’s what you do with that formed piece that’s additive or subtractive.

First side together ©2015 WTEK
Adding the pieces of Fragmented together ©2015 WTEK

When I cut parts of it away (piercing) that is definitely a subtractive process. Trimming edges, cutting holes out, cutting multiple parts out of a single sheet of metal – all subtractive.

But then I start to add parts back on. Layers get riveted or soldered on, the base gets added, even putting a piece on a chain or hook adds something to it.

So the answer is both! My art is born out of bits taken away and others added on to create a new whole.