Congratulations to Laura Jaklitsch, Contemporary Craft’s 2016 LEAP award winner! Hailing from Somerville, MA, Jaklitsch elegantly combines traditional craftsmanship and modern design in her work. Bold in color and sleek in form, her jewelry is at once youthful and sophisticated. Read on to learn more about the artist and her process. And stop by The Store to shop her rings, necklaces, and earrings which will debut on January 20 and be featured continuously throughout 2016.
SCC: Tell us about your work.
LJ: Using my signature wood and plastic inlay technique, I let the process direct the work, while making deliberate color and composition choices. The painterly, gestural process of cutting into the wood block and pouring the dyed polyurethane is contrasted with the diligence of the findings and the graphic quality of the lines. The resulting pieces are a delicate balance of both experiment and precision, and the wood and plastic abstractions begin to take on a precious, symbolic feeling. Each piece is one of a kind, and hand fabricated by me in my studio.
SCC: Share with us how your background and education influences your work?
LJ: I received my BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, studying under Joe Wood and Heather White. I started my material exploration in Heather White’s “Alternative Materials” class. At the same time, I was taking a class on the science of creativity, and learning about design thinking. Experimenting with materials while learning about creativity from a scientific perspective really developed my creative process and the way I approach my work. After school I honed my skills by working as a studio assistant for several local jewelers, as well as refinishing high-end Swiss watches for a watch boutique.
SCC: Why were you drawn to making jewelry?
LJ: I have always loved making things with my hands and the intimacy of small-scale objects; however it was the transformation of the materials that really sparked my interest in jewelry. I signed up for a jewelry class on a whim, and the first project was a very basic pierced cuff. The moment I formed the flat piece of metal into a three-dimensional wearable object I was hooked.
SCC: What inspires you?
LJ: I am most strongly inspired by the architecture of both the natural and man-made world, and by the narrative qualities of color. I am also very interested in historical design movements: particularly Bauhaus, Scandinavian, and Mid Century Modern design.
SCC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received as an artist?
LJ: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” I’ve heard this many times in one form or another but I always come back to this piece of advice when I feel discouraged or stuck.
SCC: What advice do you have for others considering a career in the arts?
LJ: It is important to take the time to develop your artistic voice, and find inspiration outside of your field. Always say thank you. Seek out a group of artists and makers that you can bounce ideas off and “talk shop” with. Be flexible, learn to think on your feet, and learn how to be self-motivating by setting actionable goals that help move you and your work forward.
SCC: How will the LEAP Award help you with your practice?
LJ: Thank you, it is such an honor to be the winner of the 2016 LEAP award! I am thrilled to have my work appear in the Society of Contemporary Craft’s retail gallery. As an emerging artist, the award will help expand the recognition and geographical reach of my work. The LEAP award will be applied toward much needed equipment which would improve the safety, efficiency, and output of my studio.