“Practical decisions” are ringing in my head today as I work on my RJM jewelry. My first piece, a brooch, is nearly completed. I still have the difficult task of integrating the findings on the back. It's been looming over me since I have decided to work with costume jewelry brooches, many of which are composed of brittle pot metal. Surprisingly, I actually enjoy working with it, as most jewelers would cringe at the thought.

Pot metal does have many limitations though, as being soft, extremely brittle and melts at a very low temperature, which means it cannot be soldered. Yet, I love the material and its limitations that force me to repeat the phrase of the day, “practical decisions."

While reflecting on my first RJM experience at Penland School of Craft years ago I remember the materials I gravitated towards. I enjoyed costume jewelry and its falsified faceted stones and gold leaf. I enjoyed the clustered settings that the stones filled on this jewelry and, once removed, the beautiful recessed cavities that were hidden beneath. After dissecting, rolling and crushing these forms, there would be no resemblance to the jewelry it once was. It became just material, a new start for a new jewelry piece to be created!

Stephanie Voegele was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA. She currently lives and creates jewelry in Barcelona, Spain.

She completed her B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2006 and received her M.F.A. from the University of Georgia in 2010. Prior to her moving to Spain with her husband and cats in 2017, she worked for 5 years as a Lecturer teaching both in the Jewelry and Metalsmithing Area and First Year Program at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. She has also taught in the Jewelry and Small Metals Department at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, and received The Fountainhead Fellowship 2011/2012 teaching Jewelry and Metalsmithing in the Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Most recently in the Radical Jewelry Makeover Artist Project Exhibition (RJM) at the Baltimore Jewelry Center, Baltimore, MD, Body Embellishment at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, and Creme de la Crema Gallery in Roeselare, Belgium. She also has participated twice in the SIERAAD International Jewellery Art Fair in Amsterdam, NL.