Linda Perry

Since kindergarten, Linda Perry knew that she wanted to be an artist. But she got distracted and went to UC Berkeley, where she received her degree in mathematics. While there, she supported herself as an illustrator for the botanical gardens and the botany department. Elements of math and botany are ever present in her work. Perry’s favorite gem is opal, which she combines with gold and silver, pearls, tourmalines, garnets, peridot, coral, and other stones, depending on the project. “My design process is much like making a collage,” says Perry. “I play with the stones until a composition intrigues me. The biggest challenge is staying open to changes as I fabricate the piece. I love the making of it: the sawing, the annealing, the stone setting, and especially the soldering. Even after all these years it still feels like magic to me when two pieces of metal bond under the heat of the torch.”

Perry received her jewelry and metalsmithing training at Arrowmont, in Gatlinburg, TN; Penland School of Crafts, Spruce Pine, NC; The New Approach School, Franklin, TN; and Metalwerx, Waltham, MA. Her work has been recognized with a professional development grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and two fellowships: one from the National Endowment for the Arts and the other from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her work appears in private and public collections throughout the United States, including Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Corporate Headquarters, Collegeville, PA; DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; Peace Museum, Chicago, IL; and The White House, Washington, DC (Christmas ornament by invitation).

Check out Linda Perry’s Maker PDF in AJF’s Library. It’s a convenient one-page fact sheet.

Read the artist’s statement

Artist’s statement: I have been a scientific illustrator and a math teacher, and for 17 years I had my own business making art quilts for walls. All of these experiences are reflected in my work as a jeweler. I am drawn to biological forms as well as to the pattern, rhythm, and order found in both botany and mathematics. My years creating one-of-a-kind quilts were a good foundation for designing jewelry. In both fabric and metal I approach design as a collage. I do start with a design in mind, but try to stay open to changes as the piece develops and the individual parts play against each other. I love the metamorphosis that occurs while making jewelry. Metal is shaped and soldered to other metals, surfaces are textured, stones are set. The end result is a work that transforms the materials from which it was made.

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