By Lance Henderson
Some jewelry is diminutive. It’s not too flashy and seeks to merely accent a larger ensemble. But other pieces of jewelry are bold and make a statement.
Liane Redpath-Worlund, owner of Redpath Studio, motioned to the clothes she was wearing: a thin lavender V-neck sweater with black pants punctuated with her own handmade silver earrings and necklace.
“I dress relatively plain and simple because the jewelry makes the statement for me,” she said.
Redpath-Worlund makes art jewelry or “wearable art” at Redpath Studio, which is basically a home workshop that resembles a high school metal shop. Metal shears, a drill press, a metal lathe, forming stakes and an oxyacetylene torch are strategically placed around the work space and she uses them to create jewelry that “has a life of its own.”
“I like the dimensional work. Traditionally a bracelet or earrings lay flat. These are like little sculptures,” she said as she motioned toward her earrings.
Redpath-Worlund’s artistic journey has been a meandering path of methods and media, but she began with a degree in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin. Later she got “half a master’s degree in painting” until she realized that she had no desire to teach art; she wanted to create. So she began taking workshops of all kinds.
“I got tired of painting,” she said. “I did slab roll ceramics for a year. I welded for two years. I was in this quest for what really works for me. What brings all these other experiences and mediums together?”
For Redpath-Worlund, who now sells her work at art shows and online, creating dynamic, bold pieces of one-of-a-kind jewelry was the culmination of her free-form art education.
“This did it for me,” she said. “This technique is totally different from anything two-dimensional that I have ever used.”
Redpath-Worlund, who had never been handy with tools the way she was with a paintbrush, said painting and making art jewelry present different types of challenges.
“With painting, I am challenged by the juxtaposition of color and of mixing that color. With this (making jewelry), it is so technical that every day is a challenge because I am working with a torch. I can burn metal pretty quick and so I have to be really focused,” she said.
Her work has a modern, geometric feel that demonstrates balance and restraint. Warm-colored stones stand against a cool background of silver and could come together to tell a story or crystalize an image from one of Redpath-Worlund’s memories.
Once, after a trip to Baja, Mexico, she created a bracelet that resembled dancing undersea plant life against a silvery ocean. Similarly, an entire jewelry series was inspired by the lines created by construction cranes she saw on television.
“I was taken by those lines. Then I found this stone, which is a spider web obsidian and I thought, ‘Wow, that is kind of like that crane.’ So I incorporated all of these lines into a series,” she said.
Redpath-Worlund said the “handmade” aspect of her jewelry adds value because her customers know they are not going to see another piece exactly like it.
“I am not doing 50 or 100 or 10,000 of the same earring,” she said. “I touch every piece. I form every piece and my customers know that.”
She will often see someone admiring one of her pieces in a showcase during one of her showings and she said that she always encourages them to try it on because they might just see something they like.
“I try to get them to try something different,” she said. “Not because I am trying to sell it, but because it gives them a look that they might not have experienced before.”
For more information about Redpath Studio, visit www.redpathstudio.com.