Meet Linda Kaye-Moses
Winner, Advanced Category, Alchemy Challenge
Congratulations to Linda, winner of the Advanced Category in AMCAW’s Alchemy artist challenge! Her winning entry, Artemisia Liberata, combines milled 18K gold, sterling silver, vitreous enamels, tourmaline, apatite, coral, and an antique lava cameo with fine silver metal clay in a stunning necklace.
Artemisia Liberata grew from Linda’s interest in Artemisia Gentilleschi, an Italian woman artist of the Renaissance, who struggled, not just an artist, and not just as a woman artist at a time when women artists were primarily prevented from achieving recognition, but also as a woman who was thrown in prison for accusing a man of raping her. She prevailed against all odds, but, until recently, her work was either not shown or shown as having been painted by her father.
“I wanted, in my neckpiece,” says Linda, “to acknowledge her power as a woman and an artist, and to give her wings to soar above the suffering she endured. When I began to work on the piece, I knew the elements I wanted to use, the lava cameo for example, and the coral, and the colors of the enamels I wanted to use to contrast with the coral. I drew a design for the piece, colored it with color pencils and proceeded. As I worked on the piece, there were only small changes that occurred.”
Linda was an early adopter of metal clay, discovering it 25 years ago. “In 1996 I read an article by Tim McCreight in a jewelry trade magazine about this ‘thing’ called Precious Metal Clay. It intrigued me because I had been looking for a way to add more dimension and texture to my jewels (at that point in time I had been making my work for twenty years). Then, while attending a SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference, Kevin Whitmore, who became the PMC liaison at Rio Grande, did a PMC demo in the Vendor’s Room, and I stood and watched him as he worked, fascinated.”
“At that time, I was head of the Metals/Jewelry studio at Interlaken School of Art (now IS183) in Stockbridge, MA, and I called Tim to try to schedule a PMC workshop. Tim set it up with Fred Woell for that fall. The class filled instantly and I called Tim to schedule a second class for a full waitlist of students. Tim informed me that he wanted me to take a Master Class, so that I could then teach the second class. In the first two years of teaching PMC, I taught twenty-one three-day workshops, all while making my work, doing shows, and running the art school studio.”
“Metal clay instantly became a part of my creative voice,” adds Linda. “I think of metal clay as a technique, rather than a medium, as a way for me to get metal to do things it can’t do any other way. So, I work in a relatively narrow range of materials: Fine (from PMC3) and Sterling Silver, occasionally 960 Silver (from metal clay),14k, 18k, 22k Gold, occasional copper (from metal clay), gemstones, vitreous enamels, lava cameos, and occasional found objects.”
“Of course, I love everything about using metal clay. But let me list the ways I use it:
- It lets me achieve textures that I could not achieve in any other way (I’m an old texture-freak)
- I can achieve dimensionality by press-molding and/or die-forming metal clay
- I can carve my own patterns, textures, forms, etc. and ‘print’ them in metal clay. I dislike using commercially available rubber stamps, etc. because, well, anyone can, and since I only make one-off pieces, I want them to reflect only my creative vision, not that of whoever else might have designed the texture, etc.
- Fine silver metal clay is an ideal substrata for enameling, and that really makes me happy. I can hand carve my designs into printing plates, print metal clay (fire it, finish it, etc.) and then enamel it. Voila. . . that’s my happy place!
- I love that whenever I sit down to use metal clay, I learn something new. It challenges me to be the best artist/artisan I can be. It allows me to speak my creative vision with the most clarity possible.
And where does Linda find her inspiration? “Ahhh… this is not always an easy question to answer,” she says. “Conceptually, my pieces sometimes speak with a political voice or draw their strength from botanical imagery, textiles (I’m a fiber artist, too, crocheting and knitting. . . colors. . .wow!), from the flowing imagery of l’Art Nouveau, etc. Or I may make my design choices based on a particular gemstone, or a specific color, or a form or shape.”
“Since I have made my living making my jewels, although I most prefer to make my neckpieces, I also have to make smaller pieces, like rings and earrings, that are ‘easier’ purchases for some of my collectors. Each piece I make, though, gives me equal pleasure in the making – and equal angst. . . because each piece is always a challenge, and that’s a good thing!”
In addition to working as a full-time studio jeweler since 1978, and teaching, Linda has exhibited in U.S. galleries and juried craft shows, including the Smithsonian Craft Show, ACC Craft Fairs and The Paradise City Arts Festivals. She is the author of “Pure Silver Metal Clay Beads.”
Find Linda online at lindakayemoses.com.