Pam Caidin 2015
When did you start to make jewelry?
I was living in the gold mining town of Silverton, Colorado, from 1978 to 1982. I had a degree in Forestry and Land Surveying, and eventually got a job in the mine as the head surveyor. Back then, gold had reached $800 an ounce, which was remarkably high. Miners were stealing highgrade ore. Some were smelting the ore in their garages, selling the gold and buying cars and houses. But some were having the particularly nice pieces cut into cabochons and set into jewelry. My boyfriend at the time was a lapidary, and I learned to make jewelry setting this stolen ore!
Why did you pick working with metals as your art form verses another medium?
It just fell in my lap, and I found that I had a connection to metal. I was not even thinking about being an artist. In 1983, I walked into a gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. There was a one woman show of work by Carolyn Morris Bach. I was floored; I had never seen jewelry as art! I went back a week later to see it again, as I was already hooked, but it had all sold!
Do you have formal training in making jewelry? If so – where did you get it?
I got a BFA at CSU. I studied with Nilda Getty, graduated in 1987. I also took a few classes at the New School in NYC, and did an apprenticeship in granulation with Jean Stark.
Do you have an all time favorite piece that you’ve made? Where is it now?
I think I do! It’s a brooch, part of my current body of work. It went into my case for the first time at the Des Moines Arts Festival last year, and sold in the first 2 hours to a woman who said she doesn’t even wear brooches!
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I rarely ever draw; instead, I get some general ideas in my head. In my current work, I’m etching patterns into copper, nickel or silver, and then soldering those patterns onto silver. Once that’s done, I sit with that patterned overlaid metal, let it suggest pieces to me. Once I figure out what I want to do, I cut a shape out of the patterned piece, having the right composition of pattern in the shape. Then I committed, and the piece starts to take form. This is by far my favorite part; the rest is technical.
What does a perfect day in your studio look like?
Getting to start a new batch of work, with etchings already done and ready to go, no rapidly approaching show or deadline. Freedom, endless possibilities, no pressure!
Who or what has inspired your work?
Oh my, so much! Pattern of all kind; growth and decay. The veins of a leaf, rust, diatoms, broken glass, the underside of a mushroom. The sculpture of Brancusi, Ruth Duckworth, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson. Beach rocks. The jewelry of Talya Baharal and Jessica Turrell. Ceramics, especially Japanese ceramics, like Mihara Ken, but also Hans Coper and Ani Kasten. The architecture of plants. I could keep going.
What’s on your bench now?
Not much! Hitting to road tomorrow for my last show of the year, so everything that could be finished is finished. But there are some new ideas, perhaps a complete departure from my current work. Excited!