June 9, 2008

ruth baird, a jeweler inspired by leaves

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Titirangi studio of Ruth Baird and her partner, jeweler Brian Adam. They graciously showed me around the grounds of their home and studio, where they also hold classes. To say that it's a New Zealand bush paradise is an understatement. I can see why Ruth is so inspired by leaf forms - they are so abundant right outside her studio door!

Ruth is well known in the NZ jewelry scene, as she's one of the founding members of jewelry collective Fingers. It's a spectacular inner-Auckland haven of creative work. I also like the floral-inspired work of Lynn Kelly, and Tania Patterson, also represented by Fingers.

Ruth says, "I prefer simple techniques, and using my hands, rather than machines: knitting, crochet, and more recently, twining and weaving, form a large part of my work. Apart from these, fabrication is my main construction technique - I mount titanium, niobium or shell in silver. The colours of my titanium and niobium work I get by anodising, whereby an oxide layer forms and appears as various colours according to minute variations in thickness. Then I use various grinding, punching or painting techniques to create a surface texture."

I'd love to schedule some time in their studio learning all about the anodizing process. At the very least I'll have to buy a necklace (or two!).

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