Jessica Stephens: Natural Formations

Jessica Stephens Heidi Lowe Gallery is located in the beach town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and has an active program of exhibitions and classes taught by the owner Heidi. In July, Jessica Stephens, a recent graduate from State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz was the featured jeweler. I think Jessica’s answer to my first question is very telling. Why aren’t students being asked to consider the wearer? Has education swung too far in the direction of self-expression that the wearer isn’t considered in academia? After all, the wearer provides both the end site and the reasons for making jewelry in the first place. I was grateful for Jessica to bring this up in her interview. She is an articulate maker and someone to watch in the future.

Susan Cummins: Jessica, you have been out of school now for about five years. Since graduating from SUNY New Paltz, have your ideas about making jewelry changed?

Jessica Stephens: I definitely think more about wearability. I think about the viewer’s and the wearer’s perception and if the pieces are accessible to a broader audience. In graduate school, you are gifted with an educated audience, a group of people who are intense and invested in the same manner as you. Once you leave that world, you realize how different the value system of the general public is, especially with regards to jewelry, craftsmanship, and invention.