Aug 25, 2009


Name: Jo Hollingsworth

Location: San Diego, California, USA

Where you hail from:

Wow, that's a tricky one. Well, I grew up in Michigan, but I went to college in Ohio, and I've lived in Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and California as well as Angelbachtal, Germany and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. My husband is British, so we spend a lot of time in England as well, and we travel around the world whenever we get the opportunity. At this point home is pretty much wherever I'm living!

Photo of you:

Art Training/Education:

I've taken a lot of art classes through the years, from painting and photography to metalsmithing and art history, but my main concentration was ceramics and ceramic sculpture. I love sculpting - give me a block of clay and a sculpture just flows from my fingers.

When was the first time you tried your hand at metalsmithing and what prompted you to give it a shot?

Well, I've always loved jewelry. I started collecting jewelry as soon as I had a few quarters to rub together. My father traveled extensively for business, as well, and he'd bring back jewelry from different countries, which fascinated me. So when I started taking art classes, one of the earliest classes I took was metalsmithing. I didn't enjoy the class at all (in retrospect, I had a really poor teacher). But I learned the basic techniques, so when I eventually turned back to jewelry I had a good foundation to work from.

Creatively, what do you consider to be your first artist success and why?

My first really successful sculpture was titled "I Dream I Can Fly Away". Like most of my sculptures, I didn't really start with an idea - it just sort of happened. But the piece is somehow haunting. I still see something new in it every time I look at it. You can see it here - - and yes, I named my shop after it.

Creatively, what was your biggest disaster and what did you learn from it?

I had one sculpture that I didn't let dry long enough before I put it in the kiln. It exploded during firing and took out a whole shelf of other peoples' work, including a gorgeous vase that was next to it. That was definitely a disaster! Beyond that, I've melted quite a few pieces of delicate jewelry, and I've had any number of designs that seem brilliant in my head but just don't seem to translate into metal. But I just consider those learning experiences.

What are your favorite materials and techniques to work with?

I love cold forging, and recently I've really been enjoying setting cabochons. I've just started soldering gold, as well, which is a lot of fun. Ask me again in a few months, though, and I'm sure I'll have a new answer. That's the fun of metalsmithng - there's always something new to learn!

Share you workbench:

My teeny little workbench -
I'm always shuffling things around to make space.

What inspires you most in your creative process and why?

I'm inspired by that magic place where form meets function. This is one thing jewelry offers me that I can't get from sculpting - sculpture is gorgeous, but you can't wear it to a party. I love to take an idea and turn it around in my head until I figure how to turn it into a piece that is both flattering and comfortable. How will it look while being worn? Will it hang right? How will it age? Will it show wear? Will I still love this piece in 5 years? I often contemplate a design for weeks or months before I try to turn it into metal.

Is there one Metalsmith/Artist that you really admire whose work inspires you?

One of the first art history classes I took covered tribal arts, from the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians to the Maori in New Zealand. I'm still really inspired by native craftspeople. My current obsessions are Maori greenstone jewelry and Navajo silverwork.

Show us your favorite pieces:

I'm still in love with my Mod Flower necklace.
I designed and made this in a week for a last minute black-tie affair.
It's my go-to necklace for dressy occasions.

Show us your recent work:

I recently made this rainbow obsidian necklace as a custom order for one of my customers. I really enjoyed combining silver with rose gold. I love how this came out!

What are your ten year goals in terms of your metal work?

My ten year goal is not to get bored! One of the things I love about metalsmithing is the constant learning process. If I live for 100 years I'll never learn all of the possible ways to work metal. At the moment I'm really interested in learning wax carving, which I think would go nicely with my sculpting background, and learning blacksmithing, which I think would translate well to jewelry.

Here are some more of Jo's designs:

To see more of Jo's designs, you can visit his Etsy Store here:

Thank you Jo!


chic beads by germaine said...

Beautiful work Jo!

I love reading these interviews; they provide a window in to the artist's world.

idreamicanfly said...

Thanks! I enjoy doing interviews. There's always a question or two in there that makes me think about my work in new ways.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work and awesome photography as well Jo! Thank you for being willing!


Valerie said...

Gorgeous work!

Gift Ideas said...

Collection of very nice designs.the combination usage of stones and metals really enhance the look and make the pieces very awesome.

Birthday gift ideas said...

It is always nice to be gaining knowledge and keep yourself busy...a great pastime this.And the designs are very nice modern and trendy.

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