Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

February 2019

 

  • Suzane Beaubrun
  • Suzane Beaubrun
  • Suzane Beaubrun
  • Suzane Beaubrun
  • Suzane Beaubrun

Suzane Beaubrun

Website: sbeaubrun.com
Instagram: suzbeaubrun

Tell us a little about yourself.

A recent customer looked at my display and remarked, “ This is all kind of kooky, but it works”. I’d like to think that sums up my life as well as my work. My art is a combination of found and upcycled objects, semi-precious stones and metal. Most of my formal training has been in painting and printmaking, but somehow, I ended up working in metal. I have a jewelry studio at my home in Oakland, where I take breaks by indulging in my side hobbies of squirrel millinery and manufacturing cat toys. I keep myself from becoming a complete hermit by serving on the boards of two different art cooperatives.

What is your favorite tool and why?

My favorite tool is the first tool I purchased; my 6” jewelry saw frame and my 8/0 sawblades. I guess I keep things pretty basic. I enjoy slowing down and doing intricate designs that are partially sketched out and partially organic. It’s a meditative, process, like drawing. My second favorite tool is my crochet hook. I use a lot of crocheted elements in my work.

Which materials do you create with most and what is your attraction to using them?

I mostly use silver and copper, sheet and wire. I love that these metals can be formed into delicate but durable pieces. It’s great that something so strong can be so flexible depending on how you work it. I use a lot of recycled materials as well. I appreciate the challenge of transforming the discarded objects I find on the city streets into treasures.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get inspired by making. Each piece I work on whets my appetite for the next piece. I see what seems successful, what can be improved upon and how I can challenge myself on the next project. I also like flipping through books and finding new techniques that I can incorporate into my arsenal.

 

How long have you been working in metals and what brought you into this field?

I guess I’ve been working in metal for about twenty years! I’d been focusing on painting as my primary medium since childhood and never considered working with metal or making jewelry until I took a class at The Craft Students League in NY. I can’t remember what inspired me to take that class, but the instructor, Lisa Spiros, was amazing. Her enthusiasm for fine art jewelry was infectious. Never underestimate the power of a great teacher.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in metals?

My advice is to use your hands as much as possible. Sure, machines can do a lot and quickly, but you learn so much by slowing down and using your hands.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a metal artist and have you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?

My biggest challenge has been dealing with people who just don’t think of jewelry as fine art. I show in a multi-media gallery and I’ve had people confess to me that they don’t even look in the jewelry cases because they don’t wear it or don’t understand it. That attitude can be discouraging, but I overcome it by remembering how my first jewelry teacher inspired me with her enthusiasm. I try to infuse my work with that kind of passion and have faith that it will find an appreciative audience.

Favorite resource/vendor or website

My new favorite vendor is Otto Frei because I just found out they give MAG members a discount! But seriously, it’s wonderful having a resource so close by and the staff has always been helpful.