What a treat! Today I am quite excited to introduce you to Laura Flavin, the artist behind Modern Bird! I just adore Laura’s work! Her nature-inspired jewelry is sweet and simple, and full of sentiment! As a novice in metalsmithing, I am quite excited to hear from Laura, who seems to have quite a gift in this skill!
Laura was wonderful enough to be in the spotlight and share a little about her work and herself:
Your jewelry is just stunning! Where do you find your inspiration?
Thank you Kara for your wonderful compliment, it is my pleasure to share my thoughts and inspirations with you.
I find inspiration for my jewelry in many places. When I first began metalsmithing, I drew from my love of mid-century modern design and art, accentuating simplicity in form and style. As my work began to evolve I found that my surroundings had a big influence on my work and me. I love infusing themes of nature in my jewelry. Birds, butterflies, flowers, trees and leaves are my muse…..the way they fly, blossom, flow in the air, spread their wings and nest. Nature’s inspiration is endless for me.
I work toward combining my love of modern design and my fascination with nature and my surroundings. When I create jewelry I like to infuse meaning and energy into each piece. For example, my Littlebird is a symbol of peace and each time one goes out to a new owner I imagine peace spreading throughout the world. Some other themes I enjoy are love of nature, nesting, nurturing, family, best friends and personal growth.
Share with us a little about your creative process.
I work in my studio in Philadelphia; the space is in an old renovated textile factory. I surround myself with an array of hammers, files, pliers, dapping tools (for forming), helpful and inspiring books and vintage goodies.
Most of my designs start with a loose idea or simple drawing. Then I begin working with the metal. I cut out shapes with my jeweler’s handsaw; use techniques such as forming, forging and texturing. Most of my pieces include soldering to join silver together creating depth and dimension. As I work with the metal I sand and file any rough edges. I enjoy the juxtaposition of bold design and sweetness, so I add patina to my jewelry along with semi-precious stones and sparkly crystals.
What do you find most challenging about your craft?
The biggest challenge for me is working alone. I enjoy being around other people and interacting.
Therefore when I am working, I tune in to a good radio station or listen to a book on tape.
As often as possible I head out for coffee or lunch with a friend.
What do you find most rewarding about it?
Finishing a day’s work with a wonderful piece of jewelry that my two hands and mind created is very rewarding!!
Equally rewarding are the relationships I have made with the people who love my jewelry. I enjoy packaging up a necklace and writing a note to the recipient in hopes that it will brighten up their day when it arrives on their doorstep.
I am just beginning to try my hand at metalsmithing. Do you have any advice for someone new to this skill?
I do have some advice for those new to metalsmithing. First, find out who the best metals instructor is in your area. Take a workshop or class with him or her. If there isn’t a good Art Center near you, think about traveling a little to get some hands on training if possible. Next, I recommend getting a few good books on the subject. Tim McCreight’s books are a must for every jeweler; Joanna Gollberg and Susan Lenart Kazmer are both inspiring and wonderful. Finally, work and practice as much as possible. Jump in without being afraid to work with fire or make mistakes. As you spend the time working through your ideas they evolve into something you are very excited about and want to share with others.
What is your most prized possession?
This is a tough one…..Since my husband and I just packed our whole home and moved from Tampa to Philadelphia, I am a bit overwhelmed by stuff. So, I have to say my health, family and friends. I don’t own them…..but I do feel fortunate to have them!
Name a guilty pleasure… what do you do to treat yourself?
Should I tell?? Ok.
Cheese Doodles have been my guilty pleasure since I was a kid.
I like treating myself to decadent bath and beauty products from Haunt (www.haunt.etsy.com). The sugar scrubs, body glossing oils, soaps and lip glosses are fabulous, they make me feel special and smell lovely!
What is the most valuable thing you have learned within the past year?
This year I have learned to take chances. I have surprised myself by taking a leap into the unknown. With an open mind, some planning and faith, big (life changing) change is possible.
How would you like to be remembered by future generations?
I would like to be remembered as someone who loved fully and accepted love from others fully.