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.

May 2019

 

  • Tammy Caldwell
  • Tammy Caldwell
  • Tammy Caldwell
  • Tammy Caldwell
  • Tammy Caldwell

Tammy Caldwell

Website: tammycaldwell.com
Instagram: tammycaldwelljewelry

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Tammy Caldwell. I live in the Santa Cruz mountains with my hubby and two boys. I love a good bourbon and my happy place is by the ocean.  

What is your favorite tool and why?

Don’t make me pick just one!  The jewelers saw is my fave. Its where I find my zen. But I have a half round needle file that is a close second. It’s the perfect grit and size for finishing nooks and crannies.

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

I am a sterling silver girl through and through. I love the timeless look of a naturally patinated sterling piece. I remember walking through the town of San Gimignano in Italy many moons ago where the streets were lined with silver metal shops. I was in heaven! I use gemstones frequently in my works, but I always try to make the metal the star.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I wouldn’t be the first artist to say nature! But it’s true, there is so much natural beauty all around us.  My work aims to draw a spotlight onto the natural textures and patterns of nature. My work incorporates patterns of magnetic fields, lunar surfaces, the shadows created on beach sand, tree bark, wet stone, you name it!

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

Since high school! I was fortunate enough to have a metalsmithing program in high school. That’s where I learned my basics.  I went on to get a degree in Chemical Engineering, but even when I was working in biotech, I was making on the side. I’ve taken many workshops/courses over the years to expand my technical abilities and now that my children are a bit older, I feel I have more time to devote to my first love.

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

I find I learn most by doing. Make and make and practice and practice. You learn what you like and what you don’t by doing. No amount of talking or drawing will teach you like making can.

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?

Marketing! I love making, but the business end has definitely been challenging. It has definitely been a learning curve, but a mentor said to me once, throw your seeds and see what sticks!

Favorite resource/vendor or website

For tools and supplies, Rio and Otto Frei are my go to. For gems, I pick 90% of them by hand. I love going to local gem shows or picking up different gems in my travels.