John Sartin’s intricate, finely formed pieces are wearable art inspired by nature. I love the detail and thought that goes into each and every one of his designs. He’s a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Rio’s beloved hometown) and recently answered a few of my questions about his work, his inspiration, and his new book, The Complete Photo Guide to Making Metal Jewelry.
Heather Apodaca: How did you get started as a jeweler?
John Sartin: I started working with my hands at a young age by working on cars and eventually joined the Navy as a jet mechanic. During college, I enrolled in Metals 101 taught by Julie Jerman-Melka, an amazing metalsmith, and I knew I had finally found what I had been looking for.
By then I was frustrated and tired of school. So I walked away from formal training and started to learn things on my own through books and trial and error. In 2002 I quit my job and moved back to Albuquerque. In 2004 I started a new life as an artist and gypsy of the show circuits.
HA: How would you describe your work?
JS: Unique heirloom quality designs expressed through traditional techniques.
HA: Where do you look for inspiration in creating new work?
JS: Nature is a big inspiration in my work, as well as using traditional techniques in unexpected ways. I love to make designs that challenge people’s perceptions. For example torch firing enamels to make something resembling old ivory.
HA: Do you have a favorite material to work with?
JS: At one time I would have said fine silver or high karat gold but I have recently developed a love affair with mokumé gane, not only the metal but the entire process from scratch.
HA: How about a favorite tool?
JS: That's hard, kind of like choosing a favorite child. I will give you my top 3: My granulation cutter, my hammers and most recently my Fretz stake set.
HA: What is currently on your bench?
JS: It's mostly cluttered with an inventory of current series in various forms of completion for upcoming shows, but in the corner under the sketch book is the beginnings of a new line in progress.
HA: You wrote a book. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about it and how it came to be?
JS: This project came to me a year ago through a recommendation from Lexi Erickson who is a contributing editor for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist (thanks again, Lexi).
The book is titled The Complete Photo Guide to Making Metal Jewelry and will hit bookstore shelves in April. It is comprised of step-by-step, up-close photographs and concise instruction that will not overwhelm the beginner with technical terms and concepts. It is focused at anyone who wants to learn how to make handcrafted jewelry with minimal tools or may just want to learn a new technique.
Although there are many, many more advanced techniques that are not covered in this book, those that are covered will give the reader a good foundation to build on. There are 10 projects included (ring, pendants, pins, necklace) that all use the techniques presented in the book, as well as an inspirational gallery of some of the top metalsmiths in the field.
Have you heard about Contemporary Metal Clay Rings, the new book by well-known artist and teacher, Hattie Sanderson? Earlier this week on the Studio, we reviewed this must-have gem and today we’re privileged to share a step-by-step Interchangeable Spinner Ring project directly from Hattie’s new book! What better way to get a sneak peek of a great new book?...Read the Rest
In Hattie Sanderson’s wonderful new book, Contemporary Metal Clay Rings, Hattie doesn’t take anything for granted — She shares her knowledge and experience with the reader as if they are being fully mentored in her studio. Check out today’s review of her book and stay tuned for a fully excerpted project of her Interchangeable Spinner Ring in just a few days!...Read the Rest
A fantastic holiday gift for the metalsmith in your life, Alan Revere’s Professional Jewelry Making, provides comprehensive training in professional goldsmithing and does it step by step. Plus, the photos are a feast for the eyes. Check it out!...Read the Rest
The perfect holiday gift for anyone who loves jewelry! Vintage Jewelry Design chronicles 10 decades of jewelry fashion and culture....Read the Rest
A couple of weeks ago we posted Shelby’s BRONZclay challenge, and I hope that since then, many of you have been noticing how boring your kitchen (pantry/bathroom) drawers are, and how splendid they’d become with gorgeous hand-crafted bronze knobs! Accept the challenge. . ....Read the Rest
To mark Yvonne Padilla’s Bronze Metal Clay book anniversary, I thought it would be fun to take on one of the projects myself. And why not share the love and have our blog readers do the same? Why not make it interesting and have readers submit a photo of their finished pieces and have Yvonne choose a winner?...Read the Rest
I just love a win/win, and this gorgeous new book, New Directions: Powder Metallurgy (Metal Clay) in a Sheet Metal World, put together by Susan Breen Silvy and Christine Norton, delivers in so many ways!...Read the Rest
Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections is the fourth book in Scott David Plumlee’s series on chain making. If you love making chain, but have been avoiding projects that involve soldering, this is the book for you!...Read the Rest
Today we’ve got another wire working project to share with you. In this one, Mark Nelson creates a pair of large silver hoop earrings made from 20-gauge sterling wire and wrapped with Swarovski beads. Have fun!...Read the Rest