Monday, October 31, 2011

Aritst Interview ~ Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Special thanks to Kest for sharing with us! 

Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

How would you describe what you do as an artist?
My work is all about being one of a kind, affordable, and easy to wear. I use metal to evoke the natural landscape from which the ore emerged. Some pieces are very bold, shouting of earthquakes, while others whisper of quiet fields of rustling grass, or paths through autumn woods.  Like any good traveling companion, my pieces are a bit eccentric- each is entirely different from every other piece I've ever created. Each has their own personality, as organic and hard to define as each of your friends. The masks provide a different kind of freedom; by letting you pretend to be something else, they allow you to truly be yourself. They are wearable, yet function as sculpture off the head.

Ghost ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

What inspires your designs?
Mostly the copper itself- also the world. Trees and streams and acorn caps caught in whirlpools. Folktales and fairytales and overheard stories. Sometimes big thoughts, but mostly small ones. Recently I've been making masks for all the critters in Borges "The Book of Imaginary Beings", and this has challenged me tremendously- some of the creatures I know, but others I have to invent from a small bit of text.
Triceratops worn ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

How long have you been involved in this type of making?
I've been making masks for over a decade. I've been forging copper for about 8 years. I've been inventing odd critters for just under 30 years. 

Cassawary ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Where are you located?
Currently in Nashville, TN. I move around a lot, and travel even more, so you never know where I'll turn up. Next on the list: Bicycling the Mediterranean coast (not all of it). 

Hummingbird ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry
Mosquito from Elow ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Do you have a website or etsy store?
I primarily list my work at
I do also have an etsy shop
Right now the Imaginary Beings only exist on my blog 
Guillotine Ring front ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

What other ways do you market your work?
I've recently gotten into wholesale, so now my stuff is available in several boutiques and museum stores, mostly in the northeast, and right around Nashville. Occasionally I do participate in a gallery show, but not so often.
Falling Waters ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Any sage advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
Sage advice? I don't know about that! I think that the one real solid thing I have to share is that it's worth trying with that thing you really want to be doing that everyone says will be impossible. I started my business with my jewelry- I enjoyed making the masks, but didn't think they would be commercially viable. It was years before I put the time into making them sellable. Now I have trouble making them fast enough to keep them in stock. The other, related, thing is to go ahead and make that big thing that you really KNOW will never sell. It'll get attention, or, in other words, free advertising. 

Flora ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Where do you envision your work going in the next year?
Well, there's still 120 critters left in the book of imaginary beings. That'll be most of the next year. After that? Maybe I'll extend the book from my own folkloric studies.
Bermuda Triangle ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Anything else you would like to share?
MY FaceBook Fan page:
My photos on flickr: 
And if you're looking for funny stories, I've been writing them up on my personal blog, here:  
Backbone with bone ©Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Black on Brass

Black on brass- my sample from the following recipe

 recently we have had a thread about getting patina on brass- it is possible- just a little different recipe than black on copper or sterling- here is the best black on brass notes that I have found-

This is a handout that I got from the fabulous Claire Sanford (@top dog studios) a few years ago when I took a patina workshop that she taught here in Tucson. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Claire I highly recommend it- she is a lovely person and an excellent instructor that really knows her way around the metals studio.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Copper show

The Copper show! (call to enter)

Hi everyone-
About a month ago I was asking for people to come up with a list of artists who work primarily in copper- Here's the reason why! I wanted to get people to start thinking about this upcoming show.
It will be one of the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) sponsored shows that will be held in Phoenix next May during the SNAG conference.

I encourage you all to submit your amazing creations that feature copper as it's main (75%) material.
The SNAG shows are an excellent way to get exposure within our field and the surrounding community. Mesa arts center (where the show will be held) is already a hub of cultural activity in the greater Phoenix area, so we are thrilled that they will be a huge part of the conference- they will be holding multiple exhibitions at their beautiful venue- and they throw magnificent openings!

Here is the text of the Call to Enter: please feel free to share this with any copper artists/ groups that you think may be interested. We are thrilled to have master Vessel maker/copper smith David Huang as the juror, and we are looking forward to a magnificent show!
thanks in advance for your entries -
Maureen BZ (+ Danielle Embry and Charity Hall- exhibitions committee for SNAG Phoenix 2012)

CU|29: Contemporary Work in Copper
Call for Entries

In conjunction with the Society of North American Goldsmith's (SNAG) 2012 Conference in
Phoenix, Arizona, Mesa Art Center is presenting the exhibition, CU|29: Contemporary Work
in Copperfrom April 6 to August 12, 2012.  Copper, our 29th element, is prized for its excellent
malleability, conductivity, and ductility. Arizona is the leading copper-producing state in the
This juried exhibition will feature contemporary artwork that is made primarily of copper. 
In addition to contemporary work, the exhibition will highlight exquisite copper vessels created
in Santa Clara, Mexico borrowed from several private collections throughout the region. Mesa
Contemporary Arts will be showcasing five exhibitions during SNAG and will be a destination
spot during the Friday night gallery crawl.

Juror: David Huang is a renowned metalsmith known for his raised copper vessels. Widely
exhibited throughout the U.S, David Huang’s work is in many private collections and museum
collections, including the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Kamm Teapot Collection. 
Publications include 500 Metal Vessels –Contemporary Explorations of Containmentby Lark
Books (2007) and “Inquire Within: The Holloware of David Huang” , published in Metalsmith
Magazine(2008). He currently lives and maintains a studio in western Michigan.

Eligibility: Open to any artist working in copper. Pieces submitted for consideration must be
original in design and composed of at least 75% copper. Artwork may include but is not limited
to jewelry, vessels, sculpture, and wall pieces.

Submissions: Artists may submit up to 3 artworks for consideration for a $25 fee. Entries must
be submitted as digital images in JPEG format on a CD. Image resolution must be 200 dpi, with
6” as the longest dimension.  Digital images should be named as follows:
LastName.EntryNumber.jpg  (EX: Doe.1.jpg) Detail shots should be labeled as follows.
LastName.EntryNumber a.jpg (EX: Doe1a.jpg) Limit detail shots to 1 per piece.  Also, include a
PDF document on the CD that contains Artist contact information (name, address, phone
number, email) AND the following information for each piece:
Artist Name
Entry Number
Label this file as: LastName.pdf  (EX: Doe.pdf)
Submissions and the $25 entry fee, payable to Arizona Designer Craftsmen, must be
received by November 18, 2011.

Mail entries to:
SNAG Exhibitions Committee
c/o Charity Hall
P.O. Box 3615
Tucson, AZ 85722

Transportation/Shipping:Artists are responsible for transportation of work to Mesa
Contemporary Arts. Artworks may be hand-delivered to MCA or shipped to arrive on or before 5
pm March 16, 2012. Work being shipped must be packed in a re-usable shipping container.
Artists are responsible for checking with their shipper regarding insurance and correct packing
procedures. Mesa Contemporary Arts will not be responsible for breakage because of incorrect
packing or insufficient container. Artists will be notified of work that arrives in damaged
condition. Cost of shipping artwork to the exhibition is the artist’s responsibility; MCA will pay
for return shipping and insurance of artwork within the contiguous United States, via standard
UPS only. If any other carriers are requested for the return, the artist will be responsible for the
cost and scheduling.

Liability:Insurance will be carried by the City of Mesa on all works for the duration of the show
(April 6 to August 12, 2012).  The usual exclusions will apply for loss or damage which occur by
any event beyond the control of the City.

Agreement:The artist agrees to maintain entry for the duration of the exhibition. Submission of
an entry constitutes permission to photograph work for publicity and educational purposes. All
entries must be of original design and personal execution.  Artwork may be for sale atthe artist’s
discretion.  A 25% commission will be retained by MCA on all sales.

November 18, 2011 Submissions must be received
January 15, 2012Artists will be notified of acceptance/denial via email
March 16, 2012Work must arrive at the Mesa Contemporary Arts by 5 pm
May 25, 2012Member’sVIP Reception: 6-7 pm;Public Reception: 7-9 pm
April 6-August 12, 2012 Exhibition Dates. Work will be shipped out for return during
the week of August 27th, 2012.

Questionsmay be directed to