I was super lucky to get to chat with jewelry designer Catherine Butler. If you aren’t familiar with her pieces – here is your big moment! I was immediately drawn to her creative flair, her inspiration from nature….and her delicate designs.
Give us a little background…how did you get into art and design?
When I was little my mother put a roll of 36 “ high paper along the dining room wall with a can of crayons. My brother and I drew there with her all the time. When it was full she put up a new sheet.
Growing up we were always making things. There were strict limits as to how much TV we could watch. I took art, puppetry, and drama classes.
What lead you to beginning to work with jewelry?
During Junior high and high school, I took classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art on Saturdays and during the summer—I was always fascinated by the Jewelry work I saw there by the students and especially by John Paul Miller, who became my teacher when I went to CIA for college.
You seem to draw inspiration from nature, specifically plants & wildlife (Flora and Fauna), what draws you to this?
My Mother was a gardener, and had an amazing green thumb, so I grew up surrounded by flowers, gardens and plants both outside and inside. We had fish and always had binoculars and would watch the birds and other animals that showed up in our yard. The creatures I make these days, however, tend to be mutant hybrids –though mostly friendly.
What is your process in creating these pieces?
I fabricate my pieces from flat sheet metal and wire, using the techniques of sawing, hammering, stamping, texturing, soldering and forming. Sometimes I also use found materials and objects. My SWIGGLES are hammered aluminum wire, — lightweight for their size and very wearable. I use collage as a basis for a lot of my work—using metal and other materials rather than paper.
Who do you envision wearing your work? Do you think about this when you work on designs?
I do not think about who will wear them when I make them. I do however think that the people who wear my work have senses of humor and personal style. I think they approach the way they adorn themselves with a sense of joy and like to subtly or not so subtly surprise the people in their lives with their adornment. I usually just get an idea, sometimes it is figurative image, sometimes it is about placement on the body, sometimes it has to do with the way the metal responds when I work with it, sometimes I find suggestions of images in my scrap metal, sometimes I find a material or object that I feel just needs to be made into a piece of jewelry. Sometimes my designs are completely one of a kind pieces, other designs develop into ongoing series.
What are some new pieces you are working on, What are your plans for the coming future?
Right now I am working on pieces in various series, mostly in the under $50 price range, to sell at my upcoming holiday sales. These include SWIGGLES, bling-a-ma-bobs, STEAMER PUNK kitchenwear, and Shadows. I also have several commissions in the works, some of which have a holiday deadline. Come Spring and Summer I hope to work on one of a kind pieces to show in galleries and exhibitions.
Where can we purchase your pieces?
Upcoming Holiday Sales are:
Charm the Heart, November 17, 1-8pm, November 18, noon -4pm. This is a group of 11 artists, the location is a house, 3124 Corydon Road, in Cleveland Heights, just down the road from the Lee Road Library.
Laurel School’s Artisan’s Bazaar, December 1, 10am-5pm, Sunday December 2, 11am-4pm, the location is Laurel School, 1 Lyman Circle, in Shaker Heights.
Web Site: Catherine Butler Jewelry