Featured Artist: Jesse Mathes

In conjunction with the Colorado Metalsmithing Conference (CoMA) in July, we will be hosting a show highlighting metal arts from the members of CoMA and the presenters at the conference. Leading up to that exhibit we asked a few of the conference presenters more about their work and process and will be sharing their responses and images of the work we will be showcasing. 

Jesse Mathes Art Jewelry

First in this series of posts is Jesse Mathes. Jesse is a Colorado-based artist that has shown her work at the Denver Art Museum, Denver Fashion Week, and at the Arvada Center for the Arts and has pieces in the permanent collections of many art museums around the US. 

Jesse Mathes received her BA in Metalsmithing and Applied Design from San Diego State University in 1998, and an MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Indiana University in 2004 where she focused on large scale sculptural adornment.  

Jesse's work walks a wonderful boundary between jewelry and sculpture and is truly wearable art. We asked her a few questions lately

How do you know when a piece is finished?

Usually when I can't stand sanding it anymore. Craftmanship is very important to me so I tough it out as long as I can. But since my pieces are so large there are a lot of joints and surface area to clean up, I've spent over 30 hours sanding and finishing one piece before. Sometimes I just declare it done for sanity purposes. 

What is the most important tool you work with in your studio?

It's hard to choose, but I would say my torches. I've made pieces with cold connection before, and it isn't nearly as fun. There's nothing like seeing solder flow properly. It's incredibly satisfying. 

Jesse Mathes Sculpture What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

One of my professors in graduate school, Bud Stalnaker, said "When you are starting a new series you have to decide early on what design elements you are going to have link the series together, and what you are going to vary. Otherwise, the series wont be cohesive, or you'll end up making a lot of the same thing." I always think of this when I am designing.

Is there a type of music, musical artist, or song that inspires you?

It depends on my mood. Sometimes I like classical, sometimes pop music... sometimes the Beastie Boys. But what I find most inspiring is being out in nature and listening to its' sounds. I've gotten some of my best ideas hiking in the mountains.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?

I think my biggest motivation is how happy I am in the studio. If I go too long without it I feel a little off. I find I'm a lot more fun when I get regular studio time.

The show featuring Jesse Mathes' work will be on display at Balefire Goods July 19th - August 20th with an opening reception from 6 - 8pm on July 19th

RSVP for the opening