Randy Burns 2011
Naja Featured Artist Interview:
Selected works 2000-2011 Naja Art Gallery 2011
When did you start making jewelry?
The first piece I ever made was in high school in 1965.
Who has inspired your work the most?
Harold O’Connor is one, I’ve known him over 40 years and he continues to inspire and impress me. I had been making jewelry for close to 5 years when I met Harold. He is a constant source of inspiration in his pursuit of design. His work is so innovative. I’ve also been inspired technically by Willie Jackson, owner of Willie Jackson Manufactory that was located in the Empire Bldg in Denver and for whom I worked. Harold Peterson was the foreman and he was quite the task master and kept me on the straight and narrow. John Marshall, a Seattle silversmith, and Nelda Getty from CSU were also influential in my career.
What is your formal education or training in jewelry making?
I received my BA in Metals from CSU in Fort Collins, my MA in Metals from the University of Oregon. While attending CSU I needed to work so I’d attend a few semesters, then work full time, then come back to CSU, etc. I was lucky as CSU offered more metal classes than any other university or college in
I’d occasionally feel resentful that I needed to drop out of school and work. But a lot of my work experience then was in the jewelry industry. I’d be working back and forth between the craft and the art. I wanted to stay in college with my friends but now I realize it was a good thing. During this 8 year period I worked for Walter Wright, Kirk and Sons, etc. These manufacturing jobs really helped me understand the ins and outs of the jewelry making trade. I’ve also worked at Glendo Corporation in Emporia, KS. and attended GRS training in engraving. I feel like I just scratched the engraving technique surface (no pun intended). Right after graduating from the University of Oregon I worked at Portland Association Manufacturing Jewelers and learned a lot there. I was the king of ring sizing and often sized 50 rings a day.
What is your favorite piece you’ve made?
It is a ring that is very dramatic. I may show it in the Naja Gallery. There is another piece that I really favor that I made for Donna – a pendant that will be in the Naja Gallery.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
I like the inspiration, the flash, and the creative magic that sparks the idea. It is an indefinable thing we artists get, I find it hard to describe. I like getting the idea from my paper drawings into metal (and I’ll draw on whatever is handy when the idea strikes!). The drawing is the point of departure for me. The mind does some magic engineering and the drawing helps me to construct the concept.
As a current metalsmithing instructor at Arapahoe Community College, what is your favorite part of teaching?
When teaching is really working there is no better experience you can have. It can be so positive. When it is working it is a unique relationship – a dynamic process. It also allows me the freedom of time during the summer to work as an artist.