CCS: Crafts I Shape the Future With an Arts and Crafts Degree
As a student, Brendan Sherwood was intrigued by jewelry design but focused his work on sculpture. Today he is the owner of Elements, a custom jewelry studio in Royal Oak, and has found a perfect balance between his two favorite forms of art.
“The pieces I find most interesting to design are those that require a perfect balance between the client’s personal taste, the materials and the way the piece was intended to be worn,” said Sherwood. “The finished piece ends up becoming an object in and of itself—something beautiful and meaningful that stands on its own.”
Most of Sherwood’s work is commission-based, although he occasionally creates personal projects for his store’s showcase.
“I’ve done a lot of engagement rings, wedding bands, anniversary gifts, remounts and redesigns,” Sherwood said. “Once in a while, someone will bring in jewelry that belonged to a loved one and ask me to transform it into something that works for them. I’ve also designed a few reliquaries.”
With his background and education, the design side of Sherwood’s career seems to come naturally. It’s the day-to-day business operations that he finds most challenging.
“The experience of being in business for yourself can be a real challenge,” Sherwood explained. “In school I learned how to build off simple ideas and transform them into three-dimensional objects. But making sure everything runs smoothly and staying organized is something I have had to learn with experience.”
Since he was a child, art and design have played major roles in Sherwood’s life. His father was an architect and his mother was a decorator. He knew he wanted to open his own business, and he accomplished his goal a year after graduating from CCS.
“While I was a student, I did little jewelry and lots of sculptural work,” said Sherwood. “But I have found ways to apply my knowledge by incorporating aspects of sculpture into my jewelry design.
"I feel I gained the most from my education by taking advantage of opportunities like the New York Studio Program as well as the camaraderie of other artists. Being critiqued by instructors who looked at my work based on my goals rather than their own context was a tremendous help."
“The experience also made me realize that the life of a gallery artist wasn’t for me. I’m more comfortable working with people directly through my studio. It has allowed room for exploration and freedom on a large scale.”