Claire Johnson, an 18-year-old senior at Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS), has learned about photography and ceramics at school, but her favorite art form is silversmithing. She said she loves being able to create something that she can wear, and seeing her ideas realized is one of the most satisfying feelings.
Johnson has sold some of her jewelry, and she hopes in the future to have more time to build her own business by selling the work she creates.
Post Independent: Aside from silversmithing, what are some of the arts you’ve dabbled in at CRMS? What has been your favorite, and why? What do you like about silversmithing?
Claire Johnson: I also took photography and go into the ceramics studio when I have time. Silversmithing is my passion and by far my favorite art. I started making jewelry when I was 12, and about a year ago I started to work with a torch instead of just wire wrapping. Jewelry for me has always been an escape. When I start working on a piece, I fall into a place of relaxation and feel completely concentrated. I also love to be able to make things that I would wear. I have so many ideas in my head, and being able to make them tangible is probably one of the best feelings.
PI: Tell me about a silversmithing project you’re working on now, and what your favorite silversmithing project has been and why.
CJ: I’m in between projects at the moment, but the one I most recently finished was something I haven’t ever tried before. I used a piece of sea glass that I found on a beach in Washington a couple years ago. It’s a really beautiful color that reminds me of the ocean. I placed it in a bezel like I normally would but left a small edge around the base of the bezel. I attached it to a hammered band that I stamped with a sort of sea grass design. It turned out really nicely, and I can’t wait to try more pieces with glass. My favorite ring that I have made was built around this beautiful boulder opal I had. This is my birthstone and also my favorite stone. I stamped the band with a little design, and it really complements the stone. This was the first ring I made totally for me, and I love it.
PI: Do you plan on pursuing art in your future? If so, in what capacity?
CJ: I definitely see jewelry in my future. I have a workshop at home, and I sold a few of my pieces this summer. It’s often hard to find time with school and work. I would like to take next year to spend much more time on making it into my own small business.
PI: What lessons have your art classes and workshops taught you that you’ve been able to translate to other areas of your life?
CJ: There have been so many times I have looked at others’ work and thought that I would ever be that good, but I feel like every time I make something, it gets better. I have a tendency to get impatient and rush things. Every time I’ve done this, though, it’s ended in me having to spend more time fixing the mistakes I made. So I think I’ve definitely learned to be more patient.
PI: Why do you think it’s important for students to have the opportunity to learn different art forms?
CJ: I feel as though art is one of the most important parts of an education. Being able to express yourself through tangible pieces of art is one of the most rewarding things. I think everyone should have the opportunity to experience that.
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