BY JANE DAVILA, January 2017
I’m starting a series of interviews with some of my favorite artists about their work, their processes, and their inspiration. First up is sculptor and jeweler Kristin Merrill. She makes the most sublime organic pieces of art – both to wear as jewelry and to display as wall sculptures. See more of Kristin’s work on her website.
Please describe your work, what do you make?
I create jewelry and sculpture from sterling silver, semi precious stones, pearls, driftwood and found objects. While I like to keep my work organic, I still use traditional metalsmithing techniques.
What is your favorite tool or supply?
My 26 year old torch.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in your art career?
Take your time and plan. Leonard Urso, my metals and jewelry design professor in art school, taught me that if you take your time and are precise in your craftsmanship and design, you have the potential to create exceptional work. I am passionate about my work and can sometimes be impatient with tools and materials. I need to remember this advice and to slow down.
What advice would you offer a new artist?
Start small but think big. You don’t need a lot of space or materials to be creative. I spent years with a small jeweler’s bench in my bedroom.
How do you work through creative blocks?
I’m lucky because I work in two mediums. If I am stuck on a sculpture design or idea I can turn to jewelry and vice versa. My favorite thing to do when I have a creative block is to fuse scrap metal together in a painterly way. It is quick, fluid and makes me instantly feel creative. I also look through my library of art books and visit museums for distraction and inspiration.
What inspires you?
I’m madly in love with Picasso’s 3 D artwork again. We share the same birthday. Other jewelers and sculptors inspire me.
What do you listen to in your studio?
Arcade Fire, The Last Shadow Puppets and Radiohead are my favorites right now.
What new projects are you working on in 2017?
I am very excited to focus on sculpture and one-of-a-kind necklaces this year. I plan to use the lost wax casting process for the sculpture and would like to create larger mixed media necklaces. I am also hosting workshops and classes in my studio at Nest Arts Factory. I think this will spur even more creativity in my work!