Susanne Henry

Featured Jewelry Artist

10 Questions for Susanne Henry

10 Questions for Susanne Henry

What was the impetus for becoming a jewelry artist?

I have been a collector of art jewelry for as long as I have had money to spend. Having studied industrial design in undergrad, I have a lifelong appreciation for art and design. At a time when my daughter took a metals class at Lillstreet, it occurred to me that I could/and would like to do that; And so, I started taking classes in metalsmithing myself. As my skills developed, I began to approach my work as an art form since making “art for art sake” had always been my dream. I find tremendous satisfaction in designing AND producing. For me, it is the synergistic combination of the thinker and maker as explorer.

What inspires your forms and surface finishes?

I cannot point to any one thing for inspiration - I will take it wherever I get it. Forms may be inspired by their function, material, technique, production requirement, or concept. The way in which I finish a piece is intended to complement the form and idea of the work.

Who are your favorite artists?

There are so many! Over time, some of my favorites have included Toulouse-Lautrec, Rodin, Modigliani, Klimt, Pollack, Oldenburg, Christo, Chihuly, Paschke, the Chicago Imagists, and Jaume Plensa. And then, of course, there are the designers and architects…

How did your current aesthetic style come to be?

I largely developed my style as a student of design, at a time when “less is more” was gospel, form followed function, ergonomics mattered and the Memphis movement of post-modernism was just burgeoning.

What is your favorite type of object to make? (i.e. vessel, brooch, necklace, big earrings, small earrings…)?

I have probably made more earrings than anything else, because I like to wear them (and they sell the fastest)! Lately, I have made lots of big and bold statement earrings because they are so fun. Initially, my favorite things to make were bracelets – because I loved how large and dimensional you could go with something worn on the wrist – and yet not dominate the wearer’s overall appearance. Now, however, necklaces are probably the item I make most, as they best lend themselves to the exploration of chain – my current direction.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

I’d say try not to get too caught up in the trends happening around you. Follow your own path and inspiration. Get your work out into the world.

Do you have other creative outlets/practices?

I love to cook (and eat)! Otherwise, I am mostly obsessed with jewelry. I think about it all of the time. I study what others are creating, what people are wearing in person and in the media, what I see in the stores and galleries. I look at the world around me, see something intriguing and ask myself how I can make that into jewelry.

If you weren’t an artist, what would your dream job be?

Something that would make me lots of money; or perhaps a leadership position where I could support the visual arts on a civic level.

Any favorite meal/food?

Pizza! I generally do not go more than 10 days without pizza of some kind. I love thin-crust wood-fired oven pizza, but also deep dish, and every other style out there.

What has been your most memorable trip/vacation/residency?

I can say for certain that it was the three years I lived in London. It was tremendously enriching to immerse myself in another culture, be so close to the rest of Europe, and develop a worldview that has stayed with me ever since. Plus, they have great jewelry there!