I have had the pleasure of taking metalsmith classes with Donna Carrion. She is a patient and gifted instructor with a very easy going demeanor. I have tremendous respect for her as an artist, teacher and friend and am thrilled to introduce her to you.
Even at a very young age Donna knew that she was an artist, but it was difficult for her to decide what medium would provide her with the satisfaction she desired. After enrolling in a jewelry-making class at the University of the Arts, Donna realized that her calling was a career as a Metalsmith.
Originally from New York, Donna currently resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She has a B.F.A in metals from the University of The Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her work has been exhibited in New York at the Rack and Hamper Gallery, at the New York Public Library in Manhattan, the Délann Gallery in Princeton, NJ, Philadelphia at Dizyners Gallery and in Portugal, Spain at the Faculdade de Belas Artes da Univasidade de Lisboa.
Donna was awarded the Mark Pheiffer Memorial Award for Works in Silver. She has also received the Addie Grossman Memorial Award in Jewelry Design and Creation and was nominated for the Beitzel Award for Student Excellence while attending the University of the Arts.
How long have you been creating?
I have been creating art as long as I can remember. I began drawing as a young child. While in junior high school I painted designs on t-shirts and sold them to family and friends. My desire to create art has always existed, so I have always found different ways to express myself artistically.
How did you get started?
I started out making something out of nothing; re-purposing old costume jewelry and hardware items. In high school, I mimicked a necklace design made of tubing used for fish tanks and filled it with ball bearings and water. Next, I used some old keys and chain from a discarded necklace to make a brooch. Although, I don’t do this type of work as much…my jewelry bench still has recycled materials. I have old computer keys and pieces of memory boards waiting to be incorporated into future designs.
What are some inspirations for your designs?
My inspiration stems from the natural world; trees, branches, leaves and roots. I enjoy using the ambiguity of imagery. Tree branches can look like veins or roots to one person and lightning to another. Our life experiences influence how we perceive the world.
You work with recycled metals, why is this important to you?
For me recycling metal is both ethical and economical. Like all of our natural resources there is a limited supply, therefore it is in our best interest to preserve what is available. Luckily, it is common practice to recycle metals due to its inherent value.
What do you want your designs to say? What is your “elevator” speech when asked about what you do in designing/creating?
I want my designs to show my undying appreciation for nature. My goal is to reflect the serenity that nature has provided for me throughout the years and transfer that solace to the wearer.
Where is your jewelry sold?
Currently I have worked featured at www.DonnasJewelryWorks.etsy.com and at Silver Obsession in Sarasota, Florida.
What’s your favorite part of designing jewelry?
I love everything about the creative process from the evolution of the design to the physicality of moving metal with each blow of the hammer. Often I have a sketch or image in my mind of what the finished product will look like. However, it rarely becomes that exact image; it usually becomes much more than I imagined.
Do you employ any other environmentally friendly practices in addition to using recycled metals?
Supporting local supply companies is my first priority. Sometimes local can mean product purchased in the U.S. or the same town. I also use potassium bi-fluoride free flux while soldering. Potassium bi-fluoride is a skin, eye and gastro-intestinal or respiratory irritant. I limit my use of chemicals for my own safety and for the environment.
Does your company or do you personally have a mission statement for your jewelry?
I want people to feel empowered when wearing my jewelry. My designs are for the individual looking to stand out from the crowd. The jewelry I make is a personal expression of how I see the world. I believe that the person who will wear my jewelry will appreciate the originality of what I created.
Donna is open to custom designs. Please visit her website for more information.