by ALLY HAND, Cascade A&E Editorial Intern
Suzy Williamson’s jewelry career began after moving to Alaska in the mid-90s. She had metal experience as a dental technician for seven years and learned the fundamentals of working with metal while creating dental pieces. She specifically became captivated with metalworking and jewelry design after attending a silversmith workshop at the local community college.
Williamson started selling jewelry right away, focusing first on bead work and gradually moving onto more metalwork as her skills increased. She’s been handcrafting jewelry for almost 20 years.
Williamson returned to Central Oregon in 2000 and completed the Metals 1-6 course at Central Oregon Community College, which helped her refine basic skills such as filing, sawing and soldering as well as experimenting with etching, enameling, reticulation, keum boo, chasing and repoussé.
She exclaims, “I’m not afraid to experiment and often work out design details in copper before moving on to expensive materials.”
While hand-crafting each piece Williamson works primarily with silver, but uses gold, copper, brass and has recently began to employ 22kt gold bi-metal to add rich gold accents. She also includes freshwater pearls, garnets, citrine and sapphire. She adds, “Creating has always been positive because there’s always something to learn, and there’s no right or wrong!”
Williamson is drawn to organic textures and combines crisp geometric lines with rough weathered patterns, providing a common theme throughout her work. Metals are textured by roll printing, etching and hammering. The favorite technique she uses is soldering because the process of permanently joining two pieces of metal offers endless possibilities.
The artist’s focus recently has been creating hollow forms to form lightweight pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings. “It’s very rewarding to make a piece of jewelry that will be given as a special gift to a loved one,” she said. “I’m also fortunate to be a member of the Central Oregon Metal Arts Guild and receive guidance and advice from numerous metalworking masters.”
Besides being a member of Red Chair Gallery, she sells her artwork at juried art shows throughout the Northwest and her work is available at The Wooden Jewel in Sunriver and Anadyr Adventures & Gallery in Valdez, Alaska.