LEAP Finalist: Laura Wood

the artist at work

Meet Laura Wood, our August LEAP Finalist! Laura’s black white and red jewelry is both delicate and bold, and would make a unique addition to any jewelry collection. Her work will be on sale in the Store through October 17th. 

SCC: Tell us about your work

My work blends familiar jewelry icons with unexpected materials and forms. I enjoy working within the format of adornment and creating work that challenges the idea of what jewelry can be. In my most recent series of work, I combine simple forms and pair them with repurposed jewelry, industrial materials, precious stones, and paper.
This combination of materials allows me to create identifiable pieces that offer a variety of connotations. Metal is transformed into an ambiguous surface and found jewelry is concealed beneath hand-made paper, simultaneously disguising their value while also embracing the value of disguise. Much of what I use is recycled, breathing new life into objects that have experienced one or more already. The pairing of traditional and modern aesthetics creates new vocabulary in the ongoing dialogue about contemporary jewelry.

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SCC: Tell us about your training/education/special mentors. 

I started my education in jewelry at the University of Georgia where I earned my BFA. Rob Jackson and Mary Hallam Pearse were my first mentors teaching me about the basic properties of metal and also introducing me to the world of contemporary jewelry. In my early education I also took courses at the Penland School of Crafts and I cannot say enough great things about Penland, here, I was able to concentrate on specific skills that I was particularly fascinated with such as papermaking. I completed my Masters in Metal Design at East Carolina University. I developed many important relationships there; Bob Ebendorf fostered much growth and really made an impact on me through his influence and professional guidance. In recent years I have been working as a studio artist and part time in gallery sales. Alejandro Sifuentes at Equinox Gallery and Marthe Le Van at Mora Designer Jewelry have taught me so much about this aspect of the field.

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SCC: Why were you drawn to metal?

Metal completely seduced me from day one. It was an amazing moment to realize the number of creations that can be made from a single sheet of metal. Then to see how this can be transformed into objects for personal adornment and identity- it really hooked me. I enjoy everything about jewelry. I love the history of jewelry and I also love the interactions I have as a result of speaking with people about this art form. Making jewelry and objects from metal creates a space for me mentally and physically where I feel very comfortable, creative, and purely energized.

SCC: What inspires you?
My inspiration comes through the observation of my culture and also the exploration of materials. It is in a constant state of development. When I was in school I became fascinated with making objects and jewelry about subjects that interested me such as the desire to collect and accumulate objects. The value of an object as it shifts hands from person to person and though generations were a big part of my thesis work. Looking back at a lot of this work I realize I was investigating the world around me by researching the human connection to physical belongings. Currently, I have become really interested in researching stones and materials that tie in well with my aesthetics and creating in an intuitive way, reacting to the materials and how they would wear on the body.

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SCC: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a new artist?

There are three quotes that stick out for me:
“Figure out what YOU do well and be the best at it.”  – Jim Cotter
“There is room at the table for everyone, and everyone gets to eat.”       -Alejandro Sifuentes
“Know when to take a break.” – Bob Ebendorf

SCC: What advice do you have for others considering a career in the arts?

Right now I am very passionate about encouraging anyone interested in a life in the arts to be active in thinking about the future. Many young artists believe there is a template for success. The only recipe for success is to be independently motivated and innovative. The economy,
communities, and professional arena are in a constant state of change. Being true to whom you are as an artist while also being flexible to what the future holds is major. As an emerging artist I am still learning how to live and grow as an artist, I have found much relief in knowing that by surrounding myself with a supportive network and loved ones I am never too overwhelmed.

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