Words & Photos by Eva Claire Schwartz.
Looking at the intricate and elegant designs of jewelry and metalworking artist Camille Taylor, you’d never know she simply stumbled upon her craft.
“I had to choose an elective [for art school] and it was between jewelry or photography. I’m glad I chose jewelry,” laughs Taylor.
Taylor’s wide variety of work looks almost effortless and yet completely original. Under her wide brim of talent she’s made everything from delicate copper sugar bowls to silver hammered earrings and statement necklaces.
And to think it all started with a belt buckle that looked like a motorized scooter – her first undergraduate project with rivets (drilling two holes into two pieces of metal, then feeding wire through them to connect the pieces and hammering it flat). This early work currently resides on Taylor’s mantle in her personal home, almost like an unnamed homage to her beginnings.
Her creative process is a simple one. She starts with sketches, collects material, and writes down step-by-step actions because it’s difficult to go backwards over a mistake, especially with silver, a material that Taylor uses often along with copper.
Given that she’s still a full-time student, affordable metals are important, although her eyes light up at the prospect of working with gold. In a dream world, Taylor would be a goldsmith, her art featured in fine artisan jewelry stores. Give her ten years. She is one to watch.
The beauty of her work is that she doesn’t draw inspiration from just one source, unlike a lot of her peers. Rather than feeling locked into one aspect, Taylor says that she’s mainly inspired by things she’s learning around her, even seeing struggles manifest themselves in her work.
“I’m not supposed to know exactly what I’m inspired by yet,” says Taylor. “I’m in an experimental phase still.”
One of her more recent, noteworthy pieces is a silver statement necklace that draws inspiration from lines in two-dimensional art as well as different chain connections. What does ‘chain’ mean? What does it have to look like? she asked herself.
What resulted was her drilling holes in the end of silver pieces and bending them into place as she went along – think of weaving metal into each other. She would feed a tiny wire into the holes and torch the wire’s ends. To get away from the heat source, the metal balls itself up so the silver pieces remain tied together with the short piece of wire (the balls are too big to slip through the holes). This movement gives the necklace a sculpture-like quality that is truly remarkable.
To keep up with Camille Taylor’s work, visit her artisan (and yet really price-friendly) jewelry website Blue Fig Designs and check out her Instagram. She loves custom orders, especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner.