Interview with jewelry designer Thea Clark


Thea Clark comes from a family of artists and has always been involved in the arts. First as a performing artist, she then began her jewelry practice, studying and apprenticing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she teaches jewelry making at New Jersey Center of Visual Arts, the Newark Museum, as well as out of her home studio. She is also the founder of the New Jersey Metal Arts Guild. I found Thea Clark’s works on Klimt02 Community of jeweller designers. I fell in love with her Fluidity + Form collection that I found so elegant and feminine due to the soft pink plastic layer that unified pearls, chains and unexpected materials like: wood, plexiglass, copper, bones, PVC and silver. I wanted to know more about how she does all these and here it is her story:


1. Do you have some artwork since you were a child?

I have always made artwork. My mother is an artist. She provided art materials and exposure to museums from an early age.
2. When did you start doing this?
I started making jewelry briefly when I was nineteen, but I didn’t know about the world of jewelry making so I studied acting instead. I didn’t take my first metals class until I was 27 years old. 

3. Why did you choose this medium to express yourself?
I always loved adornment and collected unusual vintage jewelry at flea markets. I worked for a friend who made ceramic jewelry, doing the glazes. I enjoyed the process, and learned about the possibility of making and selling. I wanted to make something less fragile at the same time my mother took a jewelry class and recommended I try it. The scale and nature of jewelry is intimate which I like.

4. When and how did you find your style?

Personal style is something I wanted, but I didn’t get closer to it if I thought about it. So instead of thinking about it, I dove deeper into the questions and concerns that stimulate my creative process. Finding my way requires patience, persistence, risks and failures.


5. How do you work?
I work intuitively from my ideas, combining made and found objects. Sometimes I sketch, but “hands on” has a way of its own that I trust.
6. What inspires you?
Generally speaking, being alive inspires me. All things are potentially inspiring so I strive to have a curious, open eye and mind to not miss anything.


7. What themes do you pursue?

My current themes are identity (both personal and as a woman) and memory (what are the defining moments or experiences)
8. What’s your favourite art work?
Favorite art falls into different categories and too many to list but stand outs are : Ann Hamilton “Present – Past”, Ellen Gallagher “Pomp-Bang”, anything by Lucy Sarneel.


Where she exposes:


Pictures, in the order of appearance:

PVC, steel, plexiglass, cyanotype on silk, cotton floss, tinted plastic
Wood, copper, silver, 22k, cyanotype on silk, tinted plastic
Wood, paper, silver, cyanotype on silk, vintage glass beads, rubber, tinted plastic

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