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Metal + Matter Featured Artist: Susie Frances Aoki

"metal + matter - a jewelry invitational" is a celebration of modern jewelry makers and an homage to our roots. Over the next 6 weeks, we'll get to know one of our featured artists through their own words and images.

First up is Portland based Susie Frances Aoki and her super textural, extra wearable collection.

Radiant - Susie Frances Aoki

How would you describe what you make?

I use different types of metal to create simple, everyday jewelry that’s easy to wear. Texturing the metal is my passion, and most of my work is oxidized to emphasize the textures. I also like using small gemstones to add colorful accents.

What drew you to this medium and style of work?

I started out making clay jewelry and used just a bit of silver to bolster the ceramic pieces.  But as I learned to work with metal, I became hooked and eventually stopped working with clay altogether to focus on learning more metal techniques.  There’s still so much to learn that I feel like there will always be new directions to explore.

Cuffs - Susie Frances Aoki

Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?

Yes!  It’s two pieces actually, and they came about because of a custom request.  I was asked to do a cuff similar to a narrow one the client had previously purchased.  She wanted the new one to be an inch wide and possibly with a stone. I’m so happy with the way the cuff turned out, and I loved the oval stones so much I decided to make rings featuring them too.  So, now I have new cuff and ring designs, both of which I love making, thanks to this request.

If you could collaborate with anyone (living or not), who would it be and why?

I’m not sure about famous people, but my husband is also an artist and one of these days I’d love to collaborate with him and make a really cool wedding band since I don’t have one.  And the reason why is because he tends to design much more complicated/complex art, while I’m super simple, and I think it would be fun to see how this translates to a wedding band.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Not to expect anything. This has really helped me focus on staying true to myself while letting go of attachment to outcome.

Rings - Susie Frances Aoki

Can you describe your favorite part of the process in your work? 


When you are in the studio, what are you listening to?

Audiobooks and podcasts during the day and music at night.

What is your most treasured handmade possession?

A painting my dad did of my husband and me for our wedding.  It’s super colorful and in it we are floating above our family and friends at the wedding as they wave us on…he included each of our family members, as well as Beeps (my stuffed bear that he gave me when I went away to college) and even a small image of me, as a young girl.


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