I love that when I put out the Call for Artists, to be featured in our Rochester Artisans blog, more often than not, it was new members who submitted their interview answers to my questionnaire, Just 10 Questions and sent photos of their work. Let me introduce you to Chris Little, as I get to know him too! I’m sure we’ll get to meet in person sometime soon so it’s nice to have a little insight into who Chris is.
Christopher Little is a jewelry designer with a new studio in The Hungerford Building in studio 344. Check out these photos on Chris’ Facebook page that document the birth of his studio. I have no idea what he’s talking about – but it makes me happy that he’s so happy! 🙂
“I have been serving the Rochester area for over 22 years as a
goldsmith to other jewelers. I was at Glen Moscoe Jewelers for over 15 years most recently. Before that I spent a couple of years in the
Village Gate at The Jeweler’s Loop after my four years of training at
Richards and West. Richards and West gave me a very sound background in all phases of repair and gem setting working under the very talented John Minor and John Kiem. The years that followed allowed me to stretch out into designing using model making and fabrication
techniques. Last year I decided it was time I try things on my own and so I plunged in!”
I asked Chris to talk a little bit about his creative process and he said, “My creative process is guided by a combination of an interpretation of natural elements as well as my love for Etruscan style. I am drawn to the balance of contrasting finishes and colors as I think this represents my desire for what I regard as ‘united differences’.”
I know when I participate in art & craft shows, I tend to hear the same types of comments over and over, which is understandable. So I asked Chris about his experience. “I think the comment I hear the most, and the one I enjoy the greatest, is when someone tells me my work reflects the natural beauty which inspires me. I feel if I am putting out pieces which are strong and dependable as well as beautiful, I have achieved my objective.”
“I sometimes like to work with semi-precious material which is unusual and, sometimes, rare. There is so much out there in the world of minerals which most people are not familiar with. Using materials like this can sometimes be surprising to people but invariably results in interesting conversation. I love hearing someone say as they are leaving my shop ,” Wow, I never heard of druzy (for example). It’s so beautiful!” Unusual material is inspiring to work with for me.”
In getting to know artists, I love how they work, what tools are specific to their craft that I probably had no idea existed. Or they use tools that were intended for a different purpose. I love how we find what works. “I use a wide variety of tools when creating so it would be very difficult to pinpoint just one I couldn’t live without. Recently, I was able to add a high-tech TIG welder to my shop though and it has stretched my versatility and given me the option to construct pieces that would otherwise be impossible. I do love my Orion 150i Pulse Arc Welder!”
“I think my work has changed over time in the aspect that I have become more able to translate that which inspires me the most into pieces I am satisfied with. So much of learning this craft is involved with creating for others using their vision. It turns out this was very helpful in the long run in regards to finding my own.”
Another thing I find fascinating about the work of artists is how critical some of the steps of their process are, that you would never suspect even exist. So I often ask which is their favorite and least favorite.
“My favorite part of creating my work is when I am getting close to the finishing point and it is clear I have accomplished what I had in
mind. I take special interest in closely examining what I have done in the end as I am extremely self-critical, probably like most artisans.”
“There have been times when I was not happy with the outcome and, while this is an unhappy moment, it energizes me to correct what went wrong and invariably leads to my making something that is even closer to what I had envisioned. Those times of trial and error have resulted in an increase in skill level and, often, my favorite examples of my work.”
“I think, if I were to name a “dream project” it would be to work more extensively with Mokume Gane, a Japanese technique which translates to “wood grain”. It is a process of melding metals of different color by heating, folding and forging repeatedly.”
“It is a very time consuming process but the results are beautiful and fit my love of translating nature to jewelry perfectly. I intend to do more of this in the near future. I also plan to incorporate the use of PMC (precious metal clay) as well as enameling soon. Very exciting stuff!”
Phone: (585) 857-3549
1115 E. Main St. Studio 344
Rochester, NY 14609
See you at a First Friday, Chris!
~ Stefani ~