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Emily Watson

  • My vision when creating jewelry is based on what I would want to wear. The pieces tend to be larger in scale, with a solid weight that allows them to withstand daily wear. Often simple and modern in form, I pay a lot of attention to details such as movement, mechanisms, and material. In both craft and art, creating something simple that can stand on its own and garner attention is often more difficult than creating something busy. Every line, plane, and surface becomes more important, and the skill of the maker is called on to execute the details of the piece masterfully.

    As a perfectionist, I invest a lot of time in the design and execution of every piece; but I also value the handmade, and the physical process a maker chooses to create a finished product. A visual sense of imperfection (minor as it may be) is a beautiful reminder of the maker’s work, and is often what distinguishes a handmade item from a manufactured one. While I repeat certain design or create variations on them, the process of hand-soldering, hand-sanding, and hand-finishing every piece ensures that each one is unique in some way. It also ensures that the “hand” is evident in each one.

    My modern designs generally have soft edges and organic elements that humanize them and encourage touch. 
  • Material is a driving element of Emily's work. She is an enthusiastic traveler, and collect bits and pieces of exotic materials whenever possible. She also believes in saving materials that might otherwise be discarded, and transforming them into something new. She has worked with cut-offs of counter top materials from kitchen installations, wood scraps from furniture building, pieces of vulcanite and meerschaum discarded by retiring pipe makers, and chunks of bakelite sourced from defunct costume jewelry manufacturers. Other materials she consistently uses include: faux bone plastic, acrylic, bowling ball plastic, bone, horn, fossilized mammoth bone, synthetic opal, semi-precious stone, reconstituted stone, vintage amber, jet, and resin.
  • Education:
    MFA Metal
    State University of New York at New Paltz
    New Paltz, NY
    May 2003
    BA with concentration in studio art
    Oberlin College
    Oberlin, Ohio
    May 1996
    Publications:
    Vogue Gioiella, May 2009
    500 Plastic Jewelry Designs: A Groundbreaking Survey of a Modern Material, Lark Books, 2009
    500 Enameled Objects: A Celebration of Color on Metal, Lark Books, 2009
    Best of America: Jewelry Artists and Artisans, Kennedy Publishing, 2007
    Contemporary Enameling: Art And Techniques, Lilyan Bachrach. Schiffer Books, 2006
    500 Brooches: Inspiring Adornments for the Body, Lark Books, 2005
    Metalsmith, Exhibition in Print 2004, Volume 24 no.4
    Awards and Grants:
    2006 Career Advancement Mini-Grant (Strategic Opportunity Stipend)
    New York Foundation for the Arts 
    2001-2002 Graduate Student Research and Creative Projects Awards
    State University of New York at New Paltz

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