|The way in which we create and experience
art is being redefined by technology; not as a tool, but as a new medium that is affecting
all aspects of life. Prior to the completion of my BFA (1994) in the
Crafts/Jewelry/Metalsmithing Department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I
became aware of computer related activities in Crafts. Specifically, I learned about
computer technology being utilized in the Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM Area at Temple
University's Tyler School of Arts. I attended a lecture given by Stanley Lechtzin, a Tyler
faculty member. "A Case for Elimination of Handwork in Crafts" was presented at
The Philadelphia Art Alliance, and piqued my interest in computer design.
Traditional hand-made jewelry has always been based in the physical world of the bench top. While this method has always allowed for creative freedom, the designs cannot be completely visualized until they are almost entirely constructed. A virtual environment such as the computer also allows an idea to be conceived, designed, and created - but on a screen - before the object is made tangible. Furthermore, any change or experiment that you wish to perform on a piece can be done with a series of simple keystrokes, and the new object can be visualized immediately. The artist therefore gains an enormous amount of freedom and time. In addition to the privilege of experimenting with changes, I have found other aspects of CAD design that afford freedoms that I have never imagined. I am no longer bound by the limits of tools or my own dexterity. I am free to focus on my own ideas.
With the limitless options that the computer environment has provided me, the focus of my work began to evolve. I have always taken great pleasure in creating "one of a kind" pieces that adorn the body. Jewelry serves to embellish the wearer, but also provides us with clues about society. Today's society is increasingly technology based, and I wanted to create jewelry that reflects these current advances. My concept is to create unique modern looking pieces that reflect the technological advances of today's culture- in appearance, comfort, ease, and production.
First I experimented with solids modeling to construct original forms to achieve innovative looking pieces. Second, I created jewelry that is comfortable and easy to wear. This was done in several ways. Some of my pieces use spring loaded touch pads and rollers that allow them to comfortably contact and contour to the body. The mechanisms in these pieces are designed to be easily placed on or off by the wearer. I have also created rings, bracelets, and brooches that can expand and widen. These pieces allow for many different people to wear the one "size" of the piece, as well as allowing for each individual wearer's comfort. I did this by placing cushioning mechanisms inside of the main structural frame of the piece. Lastly, the method of CAD design inherently possesses qualities that have become necessary in modern industry- ease of design and production.
Technology is limitless no matter what aspect of society utilizes its potentials. Computer technology is not limited to a particular social group or professional organization. It is an environment to seek your personal vision. The evolution of Metals/Crafts programs has just begun to take place in a number of universities throughout the United States. Through my University, I have been able to chose CAD as a means to push Jewelry to a level that is relevant to changes that are taking place around me, the modern age of computer technology.