CCS: Crafts I Shape the Future With an Arts and Crafts Degree
During her childhood, Susan Fox often took apart toys, doorknobs and even her father’s watch to see how they were made. Then, ever so carefully, she put them back together. Fox’s knack for tinkering combined with her affinity for “things that sparkle” led to a career that has spanned over 40 years. As an artist/jeweler working from her studio, Susan Fox Jewelry Design, she has promoted her work via shows, galleries and one-on-one interaction with private clients.
“It was no surprise I decided to become a professional goldsmith,” said Fox. “Imagination, along with traditional techniques and aesthetics learned as a jeweler's apprentice have provided a toolbox for me to create signature pieces of jewelry using precious metals and gemstones. My hope is that people enjoy wearing jewelry as much as I enjoy making it.”
Fox’s creativity is often inspired by objects found in her environment. She is most intrigued by the juxtaposition of shape and pattern.
“The architectural detail of a building or the intersecting rows of a seed pod may easily be interpreted into a piece of jewelry,” she said. “My materials, gold, silver, stone and pearl, are treated as individual design elements with subtle color and surface variations. I use line to define form, while creating positive and negative space. The finished piece of jewelry has an elegant simplicity that defies its complex structure.”
Beyond fulfilling her need to create, and providing a means of making a living doing what she loves, Fox’s career has rewarded her with the opportunity to work intimately with clients. She has formed long lasting relationships with many of them. Recently, she was commissioned to create commitment bands for a couple. They met every Saturday for about six months, until the bands were completed.
Some of the most meaningful pieces she designed were two necklaces for a long-time client to commemorate a kidney donation. “The client wanted something personal that incorporated the birthstones and initials of both the donor and recipient,” Fox explained. “The challenge was to execute a visually pleasing piece of jewelry that read more than just letters and gems. I decided to create a butterfly. I felt it was a symbol of rebirth and renewal, since the adult butterfly morphs from a caterpillar as it emerges from its chrysalis. Each necklace was the profile of a butterfly. Stylized initials and gemstones formed the wing pattern. The main body of each interlocked to form a whole butterfly.”
While Fox gained most of her technical jewelry and design skills as an apprentice, she credits CCS for guiding her to think more conceptually: to look beyond price points and audience appeal.
“I like to tell people that I was on the 30 year plan at CCS,” joked Fox. “I attended CCS for a couple of years after high school. I then decided to open my own studio to develop and promote my brand. I spent the next 25 years participating in wholesale and retail craft shows throughout the country, selling my work to galleries and private individuals.”
In 2000, Fox decided it was time to complete her degree. “I went back to CCS, picked up where I left off, and eventually earned my crafts degree focusing on fibers,” she said. “It was both challenging and rewarding. My experiences at CCS are immeasurable and continue to influence my metalwork.”
As an artist, Fox feels it’s mandatory to continually evolve. She has retired from the show circuit, but continues to work from her studio doing private commissions and exhibiting at select galleries throughout the country. This has afforded her more time to explore new ideas and challenges.
To check out more of Fox’s work, visit http://www.susanfoxjewelry.com.