It isn't every day that you see enamel and fabric joined together in unusual patterns and soft colors, but that's exactly why the work of Alicia Boswell caught my eye. Here's a short interview I did with her recently.
I see the Allessein Brooch includes flocking. What's that?
Flocking is the process of depositing many colored soft fiber particles (called flock) onto a adhesive coated surfaces. I usually use this process on small delicate areas of metal or the actual enamel itself. For example,on the Allessein brooch (above) the bright pink is actually small dots of soft pink flocking and the white you see is actually clear transparent enamel allowing the sterling silver to show through.
How did you get interested in becoming a jewelry artist?
I decided to take a metalsmithing class in college. The more metalsmithing classes I took the more I fell in love with the ability to make wearable handmade objects for the body.
What do like best about using enamel and the other materials you work with? The textures you create are amazing.
I have always been intrigued by the permanent characteristics attributed to metal and enamel coupled with my interest in textiles, pattern, and fabric which I think of as very fragile and impermanent.
Please tell me something about yourself that's not on your website.
Although subtly referenced in all my jewelry, my use of colors, patterns, materials and processes are influenced by my current environment, surroundings and personal experiences. Having the opportunity to live and work in many unique places since college, I enjoy reflecting back on this visual timeline beginning from my first metalsmithing class in Kentucky.
How did you create the pretty patterns in the Ossivy Brooch?
I use the traditional enameling process of Champleve. I etch a pattern (usually a traditional lace pattern) into the surface of a metal. I then sift enamel on the surface and begin fusing in a kiln until the enamel melts. When cooled the surface of the object is polished. Portions of the original surface remain visible as a frame for the enamel designs. The name comes from the French for "raised field", field meaning background, though the technique in practice lowers the area to be enameled rather than raising the rest of the surface.
The white is enamel and the dark lines are the actual copper pattern showing through. I also cut or "pierced" the metal pattern in order to create opening and depth. The sapphire is coming through a "pierced" opening where a viewer can see through to the black backgound.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not creating jewelry?
Read… catch up on life, dream about traveling abroad!
What's coming up for you - special events, plans etc.?
I presently have a solo exhibition of new work at Boise State University’s Student Union Gallery in Boise, Idaho Images can be viewed on my blog, http://aliciajaneboswell.blogspot.com/.
I am showing work in The Enamelist Society Conference 13th Biennial Juried International traveling exhibition “Alchemy” at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts September 2011.
I am also a Leap Award Finalist at the Society of Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh PA and will be featured in their store gallery in March 2011.
This work is amazing -- when you first look at it, you don't realize that it's enamel -- but there's something about way Boswell uses enamel as the backdrop to show off metal and fabric that's very catchy. Thanks to Alicia for sharing some of her thoughts and insights with us.