How are creative license, personal safety, environment, and social responsibility factored in to your choices?

I have chosen ways of working and materials that take into account environmental issues and my personal health. When I began using tin, I really loved using a material with zero impact that had very few health or safety issues. As my work as continued to grow I have begun to move away from tin and use more raw steel and enamel. Steel still a very low impact material since most in circulation today is recycled, but I have had various challenges adapting my studio practices. Using steel and variety of enamel techniques has forced me to be more considerate of my health in the long run and take further precautions when I’m working.  

How do you anticipate future uses for the materials that you are using?  

Using materials that are predominately used in industry like steel and liquid form enamel, I do not foresee much of a change in price or availability in the near future. But my studio practice is always growing and changing so who knows what types of materials I will be using in the future.  

How do you weigh what techniques and materials you will use?

While my choice of materials is mostly based on my conceptual ideas, I also tend to choose materials that have a low environmental impact for my own peace of mind. I began incorporating found objects into my work as a way to make a physical connection to a specific place, objects found in the landscapes that inspire the pieces. I am really fascinated with architecture, industrial spaces, and the urban environment, the use of steel in my work is closely tied to these interests

How have you been influenced by the project? 

I took part in the first Radical Jewelry Makeover my senior year of undergraduate. I think this project came along at a really good time during my development as a maker. It was the first time I was really introduced to the use of alternative materials, and we were really encouraged to be playful. This way of thinking about materials and process stayed with me as I began to make my way out into the world as a young metalsmith.

Kat Cole received her MFA at East Carolina University and BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught Metals/Jewelry at Western Michigan University. Cole is currently a studio artist in Dallas, TX and is a co-founder of Jewelry Edition. She has been a presenter at Yuma Symposium and Craft Boston, teaches workshops nationally and has exhibited internationally.  Cole’s work is in private and public collections including The Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and Houston Museum of Fine Art.