Name: Melissa Skarsten
Business Name: jewelry by Melissa
Art Media: jewelry
Art Form: Jewelry
Artist History: Biography: Melissa's metalsmithing and stone setting skills were honed through a variety of teachers and schools, the most recognized on that list, The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. Melissa set-up her own quaint jewelry making studio, after obtaining a beautiful old handcrafted jewelers bench that she restored.
Artist Statement: The natural world is always pulling at you . to come in and see her beauty and feel the mystery of nature, and so my work celebrates what I experience there. The Pacific-costal redwood forests haunt me. As I was developing my distinct style, memories from my visits to the redwoods kept appearing and inspired the textures and color palettes I began using. More importantly, it was the emotions I felt when standing in that primeval forest I started to capture, and a organic elegance and sense of antiquity showed up in my style. The ancient technique of granulation is perfect for creating organic textures. With a torch, I fuse tiny grains of gold and raised lines of silver onto the surfaces of my pieces. I then expand the technique by flowing melted gold in and around the applied textures. To achieve the rich color palette, I oxidize many of the pieces a deep black to illuminate the gold. The gemstones and the metal finishes I choose, allows me to express the dance of light and movement that water, sunlight, and breeze create in the forest. My work is done in a spontaneous manner, a vision maybe scribbled out as a starting point, but materials and technique guide the work into a finished piece. This evolutionary process keeps my creative thoughts flowing . And makes me happy. I make one-of-kind pieces, each piece inspiring the next. Serial imagery or what I like to call the kaleidoscope effect is where I take a piece and redesign it . and like the turn of the kaleidoscope, the variations are endless. By making one-of-a-kind pieces, I emulate nature and promote our individuality as humans, which I find a breath of fresh air in a world of mass produced, identical products.