Holly please share with us your journey as a contemporary jewelry artist?
I have been making jewelry since I was 13, I have always been attracted to art in general and was trying different courses when I took my first jewelry making class , I just totally loved it.
At that point, my mom picked up on my interest and got me an apprenticeship with a jewelry shop next to her store in New Hope, Pennsylvania. After that I have done several apprenticeships and worked for different jewelers and jewelry stores. I graduated from Quickstown University, with a Bachelor’s in fine art and education.
Tell us about what attracted you to work with Metal Clay?
I had seen metal clay at a bead store and I actually did not like the way it looked, I thought it was silver polymer clay and was not very excited by it. I worked a lot with titanium, and wanted something that would go well with that, because it was too rough ant the bottom and is hard to set as a stone.
When I first tried metal clay I was not very excited because I did not know how to refine it. I put it aside for a year and then went back and tried again At the beginning of the process, I was self taught and experimented with the material to refine it, that is when a light bulb went on and I said “okay, I can work with this product.”
I decided to get the certification and I learned a lot from with Chris Darway, senior PMC instructor for Rio Grande Jewelry supplies. I I love to experiment and develop my own techniques and then I teach them to others. An example is the negative space cane is pretty innovative.
The technique came was inspired by the layering process used in polymer clay. It requires the layering of metal clay and a combustible material that when you fire them together the combustible material disappears and you are left with intricate chambers. There are a few advantages to the technique; it allows you to create three dimensional constructions because you have the combustible as a support materials.
It allows you to make one cane and get duplicate pattern slices from it. You can make a few canes at a time, and they don’t break as easily. The process is not as intricate as it seems and is easy to manage.
It is a spring board idea and I hope the community uses it and takes it further and expand on it. Even though I have been associated with the technique I want people to try it and just acknowledge that I developed it. I am currently experimenting with other materials that I can incorporate into this particular technique.
I remember seeing and article on “Titanium Jewerly by Holly Gage” and since then I have been inspired by your jewelry using titanium, tell us more about this beautiful material and how you discovered it?
It is sort of strange, prior to graduating from college I worked in the jewelry field and when I had children I started publishing a parenting magazine and the gal that was working with me at the time had this great sculptures made out of titanium. Her husband who was working with the titanium started giving me the pieces of titanium to incorporate into my jewelry.
Titanium is very sculptural and comes and many different colors there are different varieties a crystalline a metallic and a now we have access to color shift titanium, it is a new type of titanium that appears to change colors, I have never since anything like it. We get it four times a year and it available on our website http://www.hollygage.com. The way it works you pick a variety and we select a piece for you.