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Kerri Shannon - December 2023

December 2023 Spotlight Artist - Kerri Shannon
Kerri Shannon - Dec '23 Spotlight Artist

Join us in welcoming our December 2023 Spotlight Artist, the metal smith and jeweler, Kerri Shannon!

How and where did your practice begin?

My artistic journey as a metal smith and jewelry designer began at Madison College in 2004. I enrolled in metal arts classes. I also began taking metal art intensives/workshops at Milwaukee Bead and Button for several years. The 2-3 day workshops and intensives took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me. My interest in metal arts increased as my skill level and tech skills improved. I began fabricating jewelry pieces that I wasn’t able to make before. An artist can have ideas, but they need to know how to begin the process of creating them and learning to have confidence with new tools and techniques. Sketching on paper is one way to begin this process of design. I have enjoyed paper and pencil sketching since childhood which has certainly helped me on my journey to become a metal smith.

What draws you to your specific/preferred medium?

I work primarily in sterling silver, but also love working in 18k yellow gold. I have worked in these precious metals for many years. Many years ago, I did explore fabrication in copper and aluminum. I prefer the precious metals. I find both sterling and 18k gold very forgiving. If the piece doesn’t look the way it should, I can refine the metal by applying high heat so it becomes molten. Then reshape it into new wire or sheet in which I can begin a new piece. I also really like the texture and patina that is applied to sterling. I enjoy the way precious stones like blue topaz, raw diamonds, quartz, citrine, turquoise. These gemstones look amazing in either sterling or gold.

Who were your mentors? What resources did you learn to use?

I had very inspiring teachers at Bead and Button. I took a 3 day metal arts intensive with Allen Revere from Revere Academy. He presented a project that was an advanced intermediate level, requiring multiple steps with torching techniques I had never used confidently. It was so exhilarating and anxiety provoking, but I learned so much. Another awesome instructor was Michael Sturlin from Michael Sturlin Studios. I still study under his tutelage. I attend his annual Goldsmith In Depth Retreats. There are only 4 students in this weekly forum. We spend 8-10 hours a day on numerous areas of study. We learn collaboratively as a group as well as having individual attention to skills we need to refine or want to learn more about.

What challenges do you have? 

One of my main challenges is keeping my jewelry designs fresh and current. As an artist I want my designs to continue to evolve. I also sometimes face “writers block” or “design block.” I find the best time that creativity begins to flow is in a relaxed state of mind. Creativity is difficult to summon on demand. This is when sketching and scribbling designs, circles, lines, shapes on paper lets the ideas flow. Also, looking on-line or magazines for inspiration is a fun pastime. Or taking a walk and looking at nature can also be an amazing source of inspiration. The best part is I am allowing myself to look and not judge myself on my art.

How do community art spaces like Art Hub enhance your ability to make, distribute and celebrate art?

Community spaces allow artist’s exposure to the public on a full time bases. The brick and mortar buildings give the public several opportunities to view and buy art. This allows the public more flexibility compared to scheduled art shows. Also, community art space provides more flexibility while offering other services like classes, allowing the artist to teach and provides a variety of art to be viewed/purchased. So as an artist I find it very important to have representation at a community art space. It allows me freedom to show my art when not doing art shows. And I can become involved in the public forum by teaching or doing demonstrations. It allows the public to have a better idea of how your art is made and understand the process. Also, special events or open houses at the gallery space are just fun to be part of.

Shop Kerri’s work at Art Hub, and keep up with her on her website.

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