Deb Hamm 2012
Naja Featured Artist Interview:
Naja Art Gallery 2012
When did you start to make jewelry and why?
Memory does not serve me well as to why I took my first step into metalsmithing, but it was my senior high school year class in Taos, NM when a silversmithing class was offered. From that time there were few gaps throughout my life when I did not make jewelry.
Why did you pick working with metals as your art form verses another medium?
I've always had passion for most everything. I sketched with charcoal, pencil, dipped into India ink and water color, then moved to intricate figurative sculpture, which led to metal working... sculpture to wear. Double entendre's, poetry and other wordsmithing pass-ed times are the silly side of what I do and is reflected in the jewelry names.
Do you have formal training in art/metals? If so where did you receive it from.
The class at Taos High was the only one I took in metals. I made a ring and gave it to my brother. 25 years later I took a lapidary class by Michael Boyd. I experimented and ... just made it. Taking risks makes your learning curve much tighter. But I seem to have a knack for being able to do many things, probably because I love to learn. Metalsmithing is still just another learning excursion that extends into other areas of my life.
Do you have an all time favorite piece that you've made? Where is it now?
I don't think I have an all time favorite piece. Pretty much every item I make is my favorite especially when it appears to be what I intended to make, or not. I suppose the most intriguing piece I've made is the repousse platinum brooch, called "Reflections of Perception". My first foray into repousse. It often makes people look twice, or deeper... and I can't help but ask: "What do you see first?"
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
When the person who has given you free reign both monetarily and creatively and they are truly and utterly delighted with it! Making a color rendering to be presented to a prospective client is a lovely time. I'm able to blend my past artistic meanderings with jewelry making. Actually making a specific item for someone is quite stressful. It takes a long time to come to how it will be made and joined and hung, or whatever... It tears me apart. Stones have sat on my bench for 2 or 3 years before I figured out what to make of it. Luckily they did not belong to a client. I have patient client friends.
What does a perfect day in your studio look like?
Everything I need to produce whatever I want is nearby. Good old rock and roll is playing. I might dance to get the body flowing. There are no calls to make, no dishes to wash... nothing will take me away from the bench, all day long. A cup of tea is steeping. Out the window I see the hens having their dust bath. I hear the river gurgling along, the cats are sleeping and the garden is watered. Who? says the owl in the dark of night, who breaks my trance to notice my hunger. Or, maybe a perfect day in the studio is cracking thunder, lightening, dark clouds, torrential rain... maybe the lights go out and I can take a nap.
Who or what has inspired your work?
Everything and Everyone... A leaf fluttering on a tree, the meditations of words, a black rock from a distant shore, Pele, backpacking with nothing but essentials for a week or two, the gasp of an awed client, a strawbale construction, dancing away the cobwebs of stagnation, Zeus, the newness of a culture that steam-punks your life awake.
What's on your bench now?
My cat, Pesto, who thrives on stealing broken saw blades, and nothing else... just to see what I will do. Gears and other oddities that make up the steam for a new direction. In this mix are brilliant gemstones that beckon to be matched with luscious yellow metal soon to be bent into luxurious circularity.