At the JA New York Show next week, there will be a group of designers from the American Craft Council exhibiting. I've chatted with many of them on the phone to help them prep for the show and am so impressed by their innovative designs. If you are attending JA New York, make a point of stopping by their booth - you won't be disappointed. Today, I specifically wanted to mention Brandon Holschuh - since finding his jewelry, I haven't been able to stop thinking about his unique, organic designs. Get to know more about Brandon below!
I started making jewelry when I was 12 years old. I started selling jewelry when I was 15. I would sell necklaces and earrings to my classmates and teachers at school. I was young entrepreneur. It wasn’t long before I was selling at local art shows and street festivals. It was mostly beadednecklaces and such at first, anything with a story. Early on, my fascination with jewelry came from the historical provenance of beads specifically. It had nothing to do with jewelry; it was, “This bead came from a dig site out of northern Africa, it’s 2,000 yearsold,” or whatever the story was aboutwhere this artifact came from, that intrigued me. An archaeologist will unearth some beautiful amphora or a vase, and if it’s in immaculate condition, it goes off to a museum. But there are so many shards of glass and beads that are unearthed that enter thejewelry trade, and sometimes they’reoverlooked, from a societal standpoint. That's why I started collecting. It was always a collection. And then I started to want to present them; “How can I present this wonderful artifact?” As I got more involved, I always needed some other way to be able topresent the work. So learningmetalsmithing needed to happen for me to grow from a bead artist to a metal artist. To this day, I can’t get away from the bead aspect. They are mostly Diamond Beads nowadays, but I’ve still got this close connection to beads. but I might suspend them, or I mightdo some contraptionwith them, or pin-set them by the thousands. You can see this connection in the work. Its very clear.
This sound incredibly cheesy, but I actually let the metal tell me what it wants to be. I begin by pouring ingots, lots and lots of ingots. All different shapes and sizes. I have a few rolling mills in the shop and I push the metal into various shapes and sometimes this one piece will splay or distort. Ill embrace that phenomena, ill go with it. From there, a lot of hammering, raising and forging happens and I embrace each of the subtle ques that the material is sending. Textures and tactile elements begin to appear. After a while, I have a lot of parts. Trays and trays of parts. One day, when my design ideas are focused ill decide what each part should be. This one may be on the small side, so it becomes a ring. There may be two parts that look identical, those are earrings. There may be this one big bold piece that wants all the attention for itself, it becomes a brooch. and so on. All the work will get flame-set stones and diamonds. Lots of diamonds.
An intimate relationship with my materials.
Other than jewelry: I spend as much time as possible with my family. I have two beautiful daughters and a loving wife who all support my passion. Sometimes I can spend all day and all night in the studio, so I have to set aside time with them.
Favorite artists: I try not to follow other jewelry artists work. I am loving a few tattoo artists though, Mo Ganji and Pony Reinhardt.
Currently listening to: This one is so tough. I can’t name them all, but I’m a big fan of this new group, War Girl Band out of Long Beach California.
See more designs by Brandon on his website.