featured artist:
Valerie Mitchell

featured artist:<br>Valerie Mitchell

Inspired by the structure of organic form and forces of nature, Valerie Mitchell has created a nationally recognized style in her modern organic line of edition jewelery and one of a kind works. As a Contemporary Art Jewelry, her work has exhibited nationally and internationally. Featured in high end stores, galleries and museums, her work runs from petite to large sculptural wearable form. Using a mix of materials, precious metals, cement and high fire enamel, the forms are expressive and unique. A studio in the high desert and urban downtown Los Angeles Arts District are where the original works are created.

"I was born in Hollywood, California, where my dad Victor was shop foreman at the established Allan Adler Silversmiths. At age six, we moved east by train, and I grew up in Bristol, Connecticut. My genetic influence was increased by the curiosity of odd jewelry parts, stones, and hand tools stored in an old workbench in our basement my dad infrequently used. My first jewelry lesson was the summer after receiving my BFA, followed by other area workshops. In 1977, I moved to the Hartford, Connecticut art community, where I developed as an artist, utilizing jewelry as a sculptural, wearable expression while a member of Artworks Gallery. I had a one-person show titled Jewelry from my Environment at the nonprofit downtown space and also a four-person exhibition called City Limits of work inspired by visuals from my urban environ at the Old State House Gallery. My training was minimal but my artistic energy strong. Five years later, I decided to be serious about my training as an artist and craftsperson and chose RISD and Providence for my MFA in light metals. "
"RISD shaped my aesthetic for the minimal and conceptual, helping me find my own voice and to learn the craft and development of ideas. I went from interpreting my “environment” to personal iconography. Exposure to sculptural form, drawing, and filmmaking was a plus. The study with artist-in-residence Michael Glancey introduced me to electroforming as a unique process for my visual vocabulary. RISD exposed us to another world of jewelry artists, especially focused on European jewelers. Recently, I was granted a large public commission to create 54 medallions on light poles marking our arts district. I think of it as jewelry for the city, which was an interest of mine before attending RISD. As designer and contractor, I found myself relying on the skills I was introduced to in navigating the challenges of material and production. I approach my college design teaching with RISD in mind."

Jill A. DeDominicis wrote for Ornament Magazine in volume 33.3, "In her early work, Mitchell’s focus stemmed from a sort of archaeological slant, her jewelry alluding to primitive tools and other manmade items. The rough, patinaed surfaces lent her early objects an artifact-like quality, with pitted curves and protuberances that fingers beg to trace. Soon Mitchell began to pursue the very root of forms, using such texts as Gyorgy Doczi’s The Power of Limits as reference. This canonical text presents the repetition of patterns of order and proportion in nature, and how this is called upon in works ancient and modern. It argues that as humans, we are part and parcel in this harmony of form, finding beauty in those structures that embody this sort of cosmic order in nature. Mitchell became captivated with such theories, and little by little, moved away from the industrial into a more organic study of structure. This is best represented by her line of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, a series based on leaves, petals, pebbles, and other natural figures. Eucalyptus, Pinnate, Cedar Seed— each one differs slightly in shape, and reflects careful study by Mitchell, their names reflecting their object of origin."

To see more of Valerie's work, click here.