Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Truly Unique Pottery and Jewels

An interview with Joanna Jorgensen, creative mind of Jorgensenstudio

I started throwing pottery in high school. My high school had everything a Tv station, radio airtime, an early learning center for little kids that high schoolers got to teach in, and the most incredible pottery studio. I took two semesters, but then went on with life.
After I had my youngest daughter, I was a stay at home mom with three kids a desperately needed to get out for some "grown-up" time. I started taking weekly pottery classes through the local continuing education programs. I fell in love with clay again. I kept at it this time getting better and taking more classes, and meeting some really fantastic people.
I heard about silver clay through the clay world and was immediately intrigued. I started working with it, but I just wasn't able to do all that I wanted with it. I found metalsmithing and fabrication classes at a local art museum and then I was really hooked. I have recently started integrating pieces of my pottery into my jewelry and love exploring the two mediums.

I was born in Wisconsin, raised just north of Chicago (go Bears!) and have kept moving south until I landed here in Florida.

I have both limited editions and unique items. I enjoy both. It tests my skills more to be able to remake a piece once its finished. It makes me a better silversmith. The unique pieces become like children and I am always sad to see them go.

I have been working with clay for 10 years and metalsmithing for 3 years.

I consider myself a professional artist now, it was hard to make that transition in my own mind and call myself an artist. I wish that I didn't need to supplement the artist's income, but I still need too!

I am inspired by the forms in nature, but mostly I am inspired by the materials and the fun I have when I get to play with them.

The little Iris earrings in my shop I love, and wear a pair all the time. They are simple, classic, and elegant. I think that represents my personality the best.

I promote my work as many places as I can, on indiepublic, trunkt.com, myspace, and by purchasing advertising on the web and in print when I am able. I try to be an active member of the Etsy community. I join artist groups that network. I submit my work for exhibitions and send press releases to my local papers. I also hand out moo cards to anyone I can, and get my friends to do them same!

I can't say I have a favorite technique. I do like to play with fire, so for the pottery side Raku is a definite favorite and soldering for the jewelry side.

I wish someone had told me to believe in myself. That is the most important thing. I value myself, my time, and my art. It took a while to get to that point.
Oh, and also to keep learning, taking classes and workshops and learning new skills. It is very important to keep growing. My last class was a gem cutting class and I found that it was like meditating it was so mind clearing.

I find it very important to me to promote not only my work but the handcrafted work of others. Not only does it help your local economy, but it keeps the trade deficit down!
I feel it is very important to support art and craft in a society, it makes us all better. I rally my representatives locally to keep art in the schools. Art teaches math, history, critical thinking, and problem solving. It brings us together in a personal way as a buyer and seller that a mass produced item cannot.

To know more about Joanna, visit her blog

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