Ann Turpin Thayer – Artist Statement

Ann Turpin Thayer At Work“I create fine art wire jewelry using precious metals, fine gems, and ancient, hand-intensive techniques to appeal to modern audiences. I have spent years of education and practice in order to make jewelry that embodies harmony and simplicity and that strikes the right balance between the power of the stones and the precious metals.”

 

“I feel fortunate that my passion has led me to become a leading expert in wire jewelry,” Ann says. “Even with all I have mastered, the medium continues to challenge me to push the limits of what I create. My perfectionist side seems to come in handy, too, because it drove me to develop skills and new techniques to create my best work.”

Technique
To create my pieces, I hand-encase fine gemstones with precious metal strands (various gold carat weights and sterling silver) to both hold the gems securely and artfully display them. The techniques I use are time consuming, but yield results unlike jewelry made with other methods.

My wire artwork is perfect to showcase rare gems or unusually-shaped stones or crystals. Because I form the metal filament by hand into a tight chassis around the gem, any kind of shape can be turned into fine jewelry with no alterations to the natural stone. I never use solder or glues, so every gem is perfectly preserved in its original state. I also make all clasps, hooks, and eyes, so my collectors have jewelry that is truly made by hand.

Aesthetics
Every piece that I create has a powerful focal point, whether it be a gem, a crystal, a mineral, or an unusual object like a shark’s tooth. I then use metalwork to enhance the stone’s beauty, not compete with it. This is an important distinction of my approach. I eschew extreme ornamentation, seeking harmony and simplicity instead. It has taken me years of learning, practice, and experimentation to strike the right balance between the power of the stones and the precious metals.

Since my wire art technique works with any kind of shape, I actively seek out exotic stones from around the world, and showcase Arizona gemstones and cabochons. My clients get to see gems and minerals that they might not ever see elsewhere and I love sharing the history and mythology of these rare minerals.

Innovation
I have a constant supply of ideas for new pieces, but usually my vision is more complex than the traditional techniques can accommodate. Such roadblocks tend to inspire me to develop brand new techniques to bring my ideas to fruition. These innovations allow me to make jewelry that mechanically cannot be replicated by others; many of my pieces take over 120 process steps from beginning to end.

Some of my newest innovations include:

  • Finely detailed filigree wire work from argentium sterling
  • Viking knit chains, using the same techniques the ancient Vikings used to make armor
  • Kumihimo, an age.old Japanese braiding technique that is traditionally worked in cord
  • Setting Black Tahitian pearls in platinum

Show and direct sales experience
I recently took a two-year sabbatical to explore new directions in my wire work. Now, armed with new techniques and a dazzling collection, I am eager to rejoin the Celebration of Fine Art family. Although my work is sold in a gallery, I sell the lionfs share of my work directly to collectors. I have participated in over 100 juried shows and enjoyed featured artist status multiple times. My show experience includes a successful 11-year run at the Celebration of Fine Art show from 2002 to 2012. My work is in over 1000 private collections worldwide, including a Mabe pearl pendant owned by actress Shirley MacLaine.

Credentials

Exhibitions

I have participated in over 100 juried shows and exhibitions, including:

  • Celebration of Fine Art; Scottsdale, Arizona – 2002 to present
  • Santa Monica Jazz Festival and Art Show; Santa Monica, California – 2004
  • Ruidoso Art Festival; Ruidoso, New Mexico – 2002-2004
  • Prescott Courthouse Arts & Crafts Show; Prescott, Arizona – 2001-2004
  • Fountain Hills Jazz Festival and Art Show; Fountain Hills, Arizona – 2002
  • Chair, Sonoran Festival Fine Art; Carefree, Arizona – 2003-2004

Education

  • Accredited Jewelry Professional degree, Gemological Institute of America, 2007 Curriculum included legal issues; precious metals; cleaning, cutting, polishing,and hardness scales of faceted gemstones; clarity, values, and mining methods of diamonds.
  • Graduate Pearl Degree, Gemological Institute of America, 2008 Curriculum included history, farming, harvesting, cleaning, grading, and sizing of pearls.
  • Studied with Master Wire Artisan Seth Blansett, 1997-2000
  • Studied with Master Wire Artisan Preston J. Reuther, 2000-2001

Bibliography

  • Author, The Fine Art of Wire Art Jewelry, publication pending. This book forms the instructional core of my six-week wire wrap jewelry course.
  • Featured Artist, Wire by Design: Modern Wire Art and Mixed Media by Barbara
  • McGuire. Krause Publications, April 2001.

Collections

My work is in over 1000 private collections worldwide, including a Mabé pearl pendant owned by actress/author Shirley MacLaine.

Teaching

I have developed a six-week wire art jewelry course offering 24 hours of personal instruction. Students attend from all over the country to learn my specialized techniques.

Affiliations

  • Co-President, Arizona Designer Craftsmen
  • Past Vice President & Juried Member, Sonoran Arts League
  • Juried Member, Arizona Art Alliance
  • Member, International Guild of Wire Jewelry Artists
  • Featured Artist, Courtyard Gallery; New Buffalo, Michigan
  • Featured Artist, Pinetop Contemporary Fine Art Gallery; Pinetop, Arizona
  • GIA Alumni Association
About Ann Turpin Thayer

Ann Turpin Thayer Logo

Have you ever been house hunting and walked into a place that immediately felt like home? That was the experience Ann Turpin Thayer had when she discovered the art form of wire jewelry.

Although Ann had always worked as an artisan, when she discovered wire jewelry art, she knew that this was the medium that she had been seeking to explore her creative gifts. Ann had even been preparing for the career without knowing it.she had been playing 12-string guitar for years, so her hands had already developed the strength needed for exacting metal wrapping.

The Four Corners Bracelet - Gold

The Four Corners Bracelet – Gold

To do justice to the rich wire art tradition and to educate her clients, Ann has completed a rigorous formal education in gemology (Accredited Jewelry Professional [GIA] and Graduate Pearl Degree [GIA]). This training allows Ann to guarantee—in writing— the quality and composition of stones she uses.

In addition to her gemology credentials, Ann has recently expanded her repertoire of wire art techniques to include filigree wire work, Viking knit chains, platinum and pearl combinations, and Kumihomo, a Japanese braiding technique usually reserved for ribbon or cord.

Peacock Bracelet

Peacock Bracelet

Ann has participated in over 100 juried shows and exhibitions, including many designations as featured artist. Her work is in more than 1,000 private collections and attracts both women and men collectors who are enchanted by her meticulous hand wire work and tasteful designs.

“Watching a client fall in love with a piece that speaks directly to their heart is perhaps the best part of what I do,” says Ann. “Knowing that pieces I create today will be heirlooms tomorrow is a privilege indeed.”