Susan C. Balentine / Nature's BeautiesSusan's joy in creating with her hands was instilled at an early age by her artistic mother, from whom she...
Media: Jewelry, Manmade Materials, Mixed Media
I feel grateful to have been making a living as a jewelry artist for 23 years. My career was born during my first jewelry making course at the University of Tennessee in 1982, and since then my life has revolved around creating adornment.
As a child, the best present would always be a ring or bracelet, much sentimental importance was assigned to something that I would wear all the time. As I grew, my love for jewelry grew and eventually the most economical way to add to my collection was to make it myself. I took a jewelry techniques class in college and was enamored! In 1986 I left the University of Tennessee with a BFA in metals and ceramics, and it was time to make a living. My Dad wanted me to work with gold and stones, thinking that the intrinsic value of the materials would enhance my ability to support myself with my work. He said, "You'll never make a living selling silver jewelry!", and so the challenge for this rebellious daughter was clear. Over 20 years later my work is supporting me AND two daughters, and is sold in galleries and featured in books. Still my favorite days are the ones I spend in my studio creating pieces that bring joy to those of us who will always love jewelry. My first obsession with polymer clay was through caning and loaf building, inspired by ancient glass techniques. I am intrigued by pattern, and polymer clay is very versatile for creating texture and juxtaposition of color. The pebble, stone and rock jewelry is comprised of individually hand formed beads, each color mixed in small batches. I have always loved color, so this series simply represents my love of color mixing and creating subtle tones and textures. My work has changed at regular intervals over the course of my career. Much of my inspiration now stems from dynamic form and pattern occurring in nature and I am obsessed with wear ability and durability in design. From my beginning as a traditional silversmith, my favorite way to work has been to challenge the regular way of doing things. I love to experiment, so, often the journey that begins with "What if?" leads me to a fresh and renewed series of work. I see myself as a channel for my work, which is a spiritual response to my world, a release for my creative energy and a necessary part of my life. It is my sincere hope that those who own my jewelry enjoy it for years to come. My work is available at Allanstand Craft Shop, Guild Crafts, Parkway Craft Center and Cumberland Crafts. YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE MY JEWELRY AT THE SOUTHERN HIGHLAND CRAFT GUILD'S ONLINE STORE.You may reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 828-298-3284.