I intially wanted to write an article about Graham’s art in the usual format that we do our art articles but I couldn’t find the words to do it justice. I figured instead of trying to describe the undescribable I would just pick his brain alittle. Here is a glipse into the mind of a man who makes mind boogling jewelry.
Q.Who were some of your original mentors when it comes to make custom fabricated jewlery?
A. My jewelry process has been influenced and enriched by many people over the years. The jewelry scene in general is very conducive to sharing knowledge and collaborating. Between working on pieces directly with others and hanging around my friends studios I was able to learn so much. The artist that has shared the most with me is named Adam Ramseyer (Ramstardesigns.com) Over the past few years he has helped me immensely with my craft and for that I am very grateful. I have also done some official training over the course of my career as well. I did 2 months at Revere Jewelry Academy in SF and a quick 5 day course at GRS training center in Emporia Kansas. At the core of it, much comes from experimentation and thousands of hours in the studio.
Q.Who are some other customer fabricators and/or wire wrappers you are currently collaborating with?
A. Over the years I have collaborated with a variety of skilled artists. Recently my favorite works have been with Chris SER, Adam Garrett, and Ben Claus.
Q.Describe the difference in working with metals such as Gold, Silver, Platinum, Tungsten? Also what lesser known metals do you like to work with?
A. The only metals I work with are silver and gold in a variety of alloys. Sterling silver makes up the most of what i work with, It is relatively affordable and is nice to saw and solder. I like working with 18k yellow and white gold when the budget is fitting. Platinum behaves in a completely different manner and requires more education to work with. I have never experimented with other metals such as tungsten, palladium, or anything else.
Q. Do you ever mine your own stones?
If so what are some of the more interesting places you have traveled to do so?
A. I have never mined my own stones for jewelry. I only have time to make the pieces. Thankfully there is a thriving gem industry with thousands of mines all over the world and hardworking people to operate them. Hopefully as time goes on I will be able to travel to places like Brazil and Africa to observe the internal working of these operations.
Q. Are there any stones in particular that you like to work with? And what lesser know stones do you like to work with?
A. My favorite stones to work with are Tourmaline, Sapphire, Garnet, Black Opals and Diamond. I love the color play, shape, luster and workability of all of them. Some lesser stones that I have worked with over the years are Benitoite (CA state gemstone), Opalized Clam Fossils, and Fossilized Dinosaur Teeth.
Q.What are some of your favorite experiences and/or sets of music from the Gem & Jam throughout the years?
A. The Tuscon Gem Show and The Gem and Jam Festival are some of my favorite times of the year. Everyone that is relevant in the gem and jewelry business is in attendance. Its a very fast paced social and networking event where all the artists bring their best work. You can find top quality gemstones from every corner of the world of the highest quality. I haven’t been able to enjoy much music because my time is usually spent talking to people and expanding my connections.
Q. You recently had your personal account on fb transfered into a page. Could you tell me about the circumstances and/or warnings that lead up to this? How do you think this will effect your business?
A. Before they shut down my page there were no warnings whatsoever. One day I wasn’t able to log in until i turned it into a business page. I promptly started a new personal page and quickly rebuilt my portfolio and network. I really don’t think it will affect my business too much, just a minor speed bump.
Q. What are your first steps when working on an idea for a custom piece for someone?
A. The first step when starting a custom piece of jewelry is the stones. Once the stones are selected I can proceed to the initial layout and design of the piece. I view stones as the initial seed that the project grows from. The overall shape, layout and arrangement of the piece is dictated by the colors and size/shape of the stones. Once it is designed I begin cutting out and fabricating the components. Once the piece is constructed I proceed to set the stones, engrave details and put a final polish on it.
Q. If you could gift one of your pieces to any celebrity or musician/producer who would it be?
A. If I could gift a piece of jewelry to a celebrity or musician I would probably choose someone who goes over the top with jewelry. Maybe Riff Raff or Lil Boosie…. Something along those lines for maximum exposure and comedic relief.