Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiara Boughner.
Kiara, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Being a woman metalsmith in this era still surprises most when asked what I do as a career. My love for adventure and creating intricate works had all started at a very young age.
Growing up, I was blessed to be influenced by a wonderful environment of artisans of different sorts. I remember spending many summers at my dad’s special effects shops, and to be surrounded by professional sculptors & artists was nothing but inspiring. My dad would set me up with all sorts of projects in various subjects; such as giving me a chunk of clay to create my own masterpieces, and with incredible artisans all around me, I had some of the best instruction a little one could possibly fathom. It was these experiences of creating that had influenced me greatly, and reflects in my work today.
My father had seen the spark burning within, and had wanted to continue to fan the flames of creativity by investing into these interests, and with that, patiently began teaching me the fundamentals of Jewlery making, which coincided with our other family passion of rockhounding. Taking trips to the unknown and untainted locations in search for precious gemstones and minerals are some of the most precious memories of my adolescents, and I hold them close to my heart. These experiences are what shaped my ever growing love for crystals, and the search for impeccable quality as well as unique specimens. In these travels, I had realized the magnificent splendor that is the earth, and the unbelievable art that has been forming these unique specimens for millions of years! Virtually everything my work represents is a collaboration with myself and mother earth, from the exploration of gemstones to the inclusion of the metal that frames every piece of jewelry.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
Now as an adult, I have had the opportunity to take up metalsmithing full time and to further my study in the craft. The inception of a piece begins from the stone, and the design fluidly begins to follow. I feel the stone is the centerpiece of my jewelry and from the shape, color and texture of that material, it begins to create a blueprint to my next masterpiece. Sometimes, I am looking for a particular stone, but many times, I choose the stone by instinct and mood.
Once I have my stone, that’s when my mind begins creating what my design will look like. I get out my wax and start working on the design. This process is called Lost Wax. Lost Wax is a technique that takes a wax design & is placed in a steel flask. An investment (kind of like plaster) is then poured into the flask. Once the investment hardens, it is ready to be put in the kiln to be prepared to cast.
My favorite precious metal to work with is definitely 14K gold. When making my jewelry, I do work with a variety of precious metals. My clientele wants to make a personal statement. It elevates their own personal style. They view their jewelry as art and appreciate it’s sophistication, the value, and the longevity of the piece, knowing it will be passed down from one generation to the next, as an heirloom that can stand the tests of time.
My jewelry tells a story and one of the key factors to the story of my jewelry is knowing where the stone comes from. Being able to mine and source the materials myself ensures those stones are ethically mined. When I don’t mine myself, I work directly with the mines. I know exactly where the material is coming from and who is supplying it. I can proudly say that every piece of jewelry I create is special and personal to me.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I believe this question has two sides. In many ways opportunities for artist’s work to be seen has increased due to personal connection through social media, festivals, art shows, and community events. There are so many outlets that artists can choose from an express their work to others. The difficulty in this lies in the time it takes away from creating. While social media is a lucrative bedfellow, an artist must also learn to become efficient in marketing, photography, video and building relationships daily.
If local communities, art groups & arts councils will continue to present opportunities for artists to show their work, this will encourage and cultivate more interest in the visual arts an in the artists themselves.
Brienne Michelle Photography
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