Studio visit: Graciela Fuentes, Jewelry Designer, 11/2/11

This week, the students headed to Graciela Fuentes’ studio to learn about her work as a jewelry designer. Fuentes is originally from Mexico. She started out doing sculpting as an undergrad, then in grad school focused on photography and video. After working with computers for a while, Graciela missed working with her hands, which is why she started to create jewelry. When she made her first pieces people started to recognize her talent, which led to the creation of her  Tirana Jewelry line. The name “Tirana” means “woman tyrant” and alludes to Fuentes’ former DJ name.

Graciela shows the students how she polishes her pieces

Graciela says artists should keep their minds open to all sorts of inspiration. For her, inspiration comes from antique shops, fashion, and people.

She explained in depth how she creates her work. For example, an oxidation process gives her pieces a special vintage quality. Graciela travels all over the world to find antique objects, like watches and keys, that she either includes in her jewelry, or uses to create molds.

Maikel shows one of Graciela’s pieces, made from antique parts.

One highlight of the visit for the students was when Graciela said that she actually created two engagement rings that matched each of the lovers’ palms. Everyone was amazed at the level of creativity in this project as well as in her other work.

Students who work with Graciela as a mentor will get to help her create jewelry as well as make some of their own. One of Graciela’s former mentees has been continuing to work with her for the past two years as an intern.

Graciela also had some interesting advice for the students when it comes to picking a career; “just think about what you want to be doing every day.”

Students were excited to learn something out of the ordinary, considering that most have never created jewelry, and were also intrigued by her work. This is what some people had to say:

“I like her pieces. The details are interesting. It was fun learning about something new.”

“I love her style because it’s so antique. She seems to love her job very much.”

Post by Dayalin Suriel, 2011-2012 Art Ready student and Exploring the Arts high school intern

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