Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Linda Rajotte

I love to create one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces and strive for balance in an asymmetrical way. My inspiration comes from nature, in particular, the ocean.

I often incorporate stones, shells, feathers, leaves, and other natural objects from local islands or seashores to create my silver designs.

 I use paua shells (abalone) from New Zealand in many pieces. I find the ever-changing green/blue colour of this shell combines with the silver to create a lovely combination. This colour inspires me to use the many varieties of turquoise stone in my work. I want it to BREATHE WEST COAST (as a recent artist described my pieces).

All of the silver pieces I create are FINE SILVER (99.9% silver). The process I use to make them involves working first with the silver in a clay form (which is actually microscopic particles of silver suspended in an organic binding binding). I work with this pliable material by rolling it out or just working with it in my hands. I then make different impressions in the silver clay using a variety of techniques.
Most recently, I have been making impressions of objects such as starfish patterns and shells. I also create a more three-dimensional look by layering or molding my pieces over a form (such as a spoon). I then use my kiln to burn off the binding. When heated to a high temperature, the silver particles fuse together to form solid silver that can be sanded, soldered, hammered, and polished like conventional material.
After the firing, there are a number of ways I use to finish the piece. This involves polishing in a tumbler, burnishing sections by hand, using different patinas to create an antique look, combining hand-made accent pieces and often incorporating gemstones, lava rock, and unique sterling silver beads to create an individual look for each necklace, bracelet, ring, or pair of earrings. The process will often take several days to complete.
This silver clay (often called Precious Metal Clay (PMC)) is a revolutionary new product developed in Japan in the early 1990s. I find it interesting to combine this rather new way of doing silver work with an ancient art called VIKING KNIT, to create each different and unique piece. I weave sterling silver wire to form complete bracelets and also as an accent combined with gemstones.
Viking knit is one of the oldest forms of knitting and although the process takes a considerable amount of time, I find the final result very pleasing because of its strength and lightness. There is a delicacy about a Viking knit piece I find quite unique and beautiful.
I make all of my clasps by hammering sterling silver wire. I love combining different gemstones in some of my work and then I also like the simplicity of suspending an intricate silver design on a simple omega sterling silver chain. I also fuse fine silver wire to make silver chains and