Linda Kindler-Priest

Artist Statement

My work is small scale sculptures that are based on themes from nature, and meant to be worn. Each piece is a statement or an environment about a living thing. They are developed by combining imagery, textures, shapes, colors and chased surfaces. They are made with precious metals and stone. The imagery that is used is sculpted directly into the metal in an ancient process called repoussee and then cut, fabricated and set with crystals or stones. The meaning of each piece is different, some have a more serious comment to make; excess, pollution or historical messages. The majority are environments that use stone and texture to imply different things.

I have always had a strong interest in animals, insects, birds, fish, or plants. These have been the subject of many of my pieces. I truly started using them with a series that I did of birds. They were mostly the wonderful long legged marsh ones. I captured the grace of their movement walking, or the elegant line of their flight. It was not just the form of the image but that, combined with the shape of the metal, that set the tone of each piece.

There is a wild life sanctuary nearby that inspires me, where there are a variety of birds. My yard is another source of material. I have been known to study insects from my yard, dragonflies, bees, wasp, praying mantis even a giant root borer. In order to understand the form of some of the bugs I do precise renderings. All of them have ended up in a piece of jewelry - including a mosquito, which was of course set with a blood red colored stone. Little animals that scamper about have also been used. A squirrel that was sitting on my doorstep was the model, although not a very cooperative one, for a piece.

For instance, I had been in a show at the Aaron Faber gallery and one of the pieces that I sent was of a frog. It was one of a series of what I call "brooches in 2 parts". The top was an image of a squatting frog. I set in the bottom an irregular green druse crystal formation, implying water both with the shape and the metal. What I was saying is that even though things might look beautiful, frogs are endangered because of the pollution in the water which the uneven surface of the bottom stone implied.

I am currently working on a new series which allows me greater space to create with. The top section generally sets the theme with an image in relief done in gold. The bottom part uses color to further develop the feeling that has already been stated. This is done with the pattern, texture and color of stones. A lot of these I have cut myself to acquire the right size, shape and thickness for the design. The 2 pieces are made to compliment each other, but they can be worn alone as strong individual statements.

The necklace that I designed "Honey Bee Progression" is a statement about bees. It is made up of 6 bees, that are in different positions between flight and landing, and honeycomb. I carved and cast the comb so that there was a subtlety of form and shape, then set little honey colored diamonds throughout the open sections. Even the clasp on the back was made in a hexagonal shape and set with another honey colored diamond to complete the piece.

...I strive to create a harmony between the image, stones and metal in my work, and a balance between material and statement.

- Linda Kindler Priest