Jewel Clark

Mesa Arts Center Enameling Workshop- October 2009 I am a native Texan currently living in Phoenix, Arizona. I have a bachelors and masters degree in fine arts with an emphasis in metals and jewelry. I attended the University of Texas at Austin for my undergraduate degree, studying with Thelma Coles where I also minored in ceramics and art history. I studied with renowned metalsmith and enamelist Harlan Butt for my graduate degree at the University of North Texas in Denton.

After graduate school, I was hired as Artist in Residence in Metals at the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville, TN. I assisted the professor, Bob Coogan, in the upkeep of the studio and helped students with their projects. In addition, I taught metals workshops in my specialties: fabrication, enameling and chainmaking. In 1997, I also began teaching art history, one of my passions, at a local community college and working on my own jewelry lines and one of a kind pieces in my home studio. Workshops, involvement in TACA, the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, teaching and running my own studio kept me very busy.

In 2002, I went back to school to pursue another of my passions: computer arts and animation. I found a small college in Tempe, AZ that suited my needs and moved to the Valley of the Sun. After completing an associates degree in computer arts, I returned to metals as the Artist in Residence at the Phoenix Center for the Arts where I taught workshops in metals and jewelry for three very rewarding years. As soon as I finished my tenure at the Phoenix Center, I was fortunate to be offered a residency in Metals at the Mesa Arts Center, where I currently have my studio and teach workshops.

From 2006- 2009 I was adjunct faculty at South Mountain Community College where I taught art history survey (I liked to call it "mud to modern"), drawing, 2d design and computer graphics. While teaching and making work are my first loves, I am privileged to currently work for the Heard Museum Shop where I run the online shop. I was tasked with a complete overhaul of the design, which we implemented April 1, 2010. In addition to maintaining the website, I do all the product photography, write copy and create biographies on artists, process orders and ship artwork as well as help on the sales floor. I have deepened my understanding of Native cultures and continue to meet incredible artists, which has only given me more inspiration for my own work.

Concerning my own aesthetic:
I consider myself an artist working in the medium of metals; the format of jewelry. I strive to make unique, beautiful, perfectly crafted wearable art. I am heavily influenced by the perfection of Ingres' line and brushwork, Asian metals and textiles, 17th C Dutch still lifes, 19th C Romanticism and Symbolism, 20th C Surrealism and Dada, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th/ early 20th Centuries. All of these influences have an elegance or conceptual basis which informs my personal aesthetic. I also find endless inspiration in nature, especially the landscape of the desert Southwest.

When not teaching, working in the studio, on the computer or spending time with my husband and stepson, I like to get out into the mountains and hike or sit in front of a good movie (or PBS) designing in my sketchbook or knitting. I carry a full pack of camera gear with me wherever I go and frequently have it in front of my face or someone else's. Alternately, I head for the local museums and botanical gardens. I can sometimes be found out with friends making a good-natured ruckus talking art, knitting (yes, knitting) or geeking out about computer programs. I love to run when the weather permits and I practice Tai Chi and yoga for relaxation. I am also a cat person. Take that as you see fit.

And yes, Jewel really is my given name :-)