LoveToKnow recently interviewed jewelry designer Jaime Jo Fisher about her unique art jewelry, known as wearable collages. Jaime Jo's is known for creating gorgeous creations out of found, recycled and vintage items. She strives to redefine the concept of what is beautiful in her choice of found materials, which can range from a seed to a fragment of colorful plastic.
Wearable Collage Interview
Interview with Jaime Jo Fisher
Jaime Jo Fisher received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville in 1999. She creates necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings with found and vintage materials. Her unique handcrafted jewelry which has been featured in the book "500 Plastic Jewelry Designs" and shown in galleries and art festivals throughout the USA. She is a full-time jewelry artist who works out of her studio in Austin, Texas.
The Origin of Wearable Collages
LoveToKnow (LTK): When did your interest in jewelry design begin? Did you always know that you wanted to pursue a career in jewelry design?
Jaime Jo: I began taking art classes in college to become a graphic designer, that was, until I took my first metalsmith class.
LTK: You grew up in Southern Illinois and now live in Austin, Texas. Do your Midwestern roots and life in Austin's art community influence your wearable collage jewelry? If so, in what way?
Jaime Jo: Austin is a great place to live and work as an artist. The locals embrace diversity and individuality. I love the come as you are mentality and that the outrageous is embraced. Austin and St. Louis both have a plethora of great thrift stores, parks, galleries and museums that inspire me. Visiting St. Louis is something I thoroughly enjoy and that city will always feel like home to me.
LTK: How would you define your jewelry and design style?
Jaime Jo: Contemporary art jewelry that is whimsical and organic, retro and quirky with a subtle vein of humor.
LTK: On your website, you describe your jewelry as wearable collages. In what way is your jewelry a wearable collage?
Jaime Jo: In my work, I enjoy using varying pieces that have a different origin, history, or story. I might be inclined to combine a piece of windshield glass that I found in a gas station parking lot with a beach pebble that I found in Florida. Each piece is equally important in the design, yet their story and origin are very unique. I like taking disparate stones and using them within the same piece to play off of their color, texture and surface finish to create a harmonizing unity among the varying objects. With this line of thought I strive to create a unique sculptural collage that is wearable, modern and timeless. When my work encourages conversation between wearer and viewer my creative process has come full circle.
Jewelry Materials and Techniques
LTK: The Art by Heart blog described your jewelry as "found and amazingly recycled." Your bio at the Gallery 360 website mentions that you find "nontraditional and often overlooked materials as stones" in your jewelry to create wearable collages. What type of materials do you work with?
Jaime Jo: Some are vintage, found in nature or found at the thrift store. Examples are:
- cabbage patch kid doll shoes
- vintage sequins
- vintage glass cabochons
- vintage buttons
- found reflectors
- a few thrift store plastic flower vases in choice colors that I will cut a piece from and use periodically
- found coral
- limpet shells
- rubber grapes
- a handful drusy mineral stones
LTK: What type of jewelry design techniques do you use?
Jaime Jo: I begin each piece by fabricating the metal for the individual stones using traditional silversmith techniques. Each piece develops organically using techniques such as forming, soldering and sanding the silver. One of the last steps in manipulating the metal is texture. The surface texture is typically applied both before and after the stone setting. I use several files and a hammer to create a layered surface. After the stone is set and the texture is applied, some surfaces are then finished with techniques more closely associated with textiles. The surface can be that of sewn glass beads or vinyl or maybe even needle felting.
LTK: How do you want customers to view your jewelry or wearable collages? Is there a message or statement in the designs?
Jaime Jo: Some of the materials I use as stones in my work were once discarded, mundane and even considered trash. In using these non-traditional materials in my work, I propose this question to my audience, "What is beautiful?"
Books and Art Festivals
LTK: You were a featured artist in the book "500 Plastic Jewelry Designs". How did the project come about? Which of your jewelry pieces were featured in the book?
Jaime Jo: Lark Books is a publishing company that works in art books, particularly the collective kind. Occasionally, I look on their website and check their call for entries page. When I saw the "500 Plastic Jewelry Designs" book asking for applicants, I thought my sewn plastic pillow series would be a good fit. Two of my pieces are featured in the book - my Strawberry Tiered Pillow Bracelet and my Green Brooch. Each piece is hand sewn from repurposed plastic as the main material.
LTK: Which art festivals do you participate in?
Jaime Jo: I typically participate in about six shows a year. My travels begin with the Coconut Grove Art Festival in Miami in February. My next show is in May. I am one of the main members of an organization called Handmade Austin Women, featuring a collective of women artists that live and work in Austin. Our eclectic, grassroots show, complete with art, ukulele and marionette performances, is the weekend before Mother's Day.
In June, I travel to St. Louis, close to where I grew up, to participate in the Art and Air Art Fair in Webster Groves, MO. Then, in July, I travel north again for the Ann Arbor Art Festival in Ann Arbor, MI. When it's still over 100 degrees here in Austin, I head north again for St. Louis to participate in the St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton, which finishes out my traveling season. I round out the year with a few holiday shows in Austin, the East Austin Studio Tour and the Cherrywood Art Fair. As well as traveling to outdoor, juried art festivals throughout the year, I also work with galleries filling wholesale orders.
Future Plans for Jaime Jo Fisher
LTK: What are your future plans for your jewelry?Jaime Jo: To continue making work while experimenting with new materials/techniques and growing as an artist.
Where to Purchase Jaime Jo Fisher Jewelry
LoveToKnow thanks Jaime Jo for the delightful interview and insight into her wearable collage jewelry art. We wish her good luck and much success in her future endeavors.