Welcome to Transformation Talk. Every Thursday for a year, starting in September 2012, I’ll post an interview with someone who is a force for good in the world. These men and women have either deepened their passion or found their calling after experiencing a loss, trauma or diagnosis.
I want to broaden the conversation around grief and its transformative power. My hope is that in their words you’ll find echoes of your story. In their inspired actions, you’ll see yourself and your immense possibility.
*Special Request: The technology of Skype is amazing and imperfect. Please listen with your heart and forgive the occasional blips on the screen.
Today’s interview is with jewelry artist Natasha Wozniak of Natasha Wozniak Designs. When I first met Natasha last year, I was struck by how unique her work is. Then I read the story of how she came to work with metal and I knew she needed to be a part of this series. Natasha talks about some of the major turning points in her life – her father’s death when she was 13, her two years of studying and making statues in Nepal, and living in New York on and after 9/11.
Bio and link to download the audio version are below. Running time is 30 minutes. If you’re receiving this via email, click through the title to view the video.
Right-click or Control-click here to download the audio version.
Here is Natasha, in her own words:
I began my journey as an artist during my teenage years, working in a custom jewelry shop and taking classes in as many mediums as possible. I decided at the age of 15 that I was to become an artist working in metal. That decision led me to study metalsmithing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond.
People always ask where I learned my skills, and I have to include the two years I spent in Nepal making sculpture alongside the makers of Buddhist statuary in the Kathmandu Valley. In addition, there was the time I spent as a bench jeweler in New York, turning out rings and earrings by the hundreds (and occasionally thousands) for various designers.
As a curious visionary and seeker of beauty, I have explored many parts of Asia, with an eye for the art along the way. Along with the visual impressions, the stories of the people, places and legends were collected as my imagination took flight.
These journeys make their way into each piece of jewelry that I create. Whether it is a tale from the Silk Road, an Indian legend, or the emotions of a classical Balinese dancer as she steps onto stage, I believe that your jewelry should tell a story.
Now that I work every day in my own studio, I have chosen the gratifying process of hand-fabricated jewelry. My day to day schedule includes making one-of a-kind rings, new work for my current collections, groups of work for the galleries that represent me and most recently, wall pieces that incorporate jewelry techniques.
When I am not making jewelry, I enjoy studying various dance styles and practicing capoeira. I also occupy myself exploring the food, languages, music and art of many countries in Asia.
Find Natasha at NatashaJewelry.com
P.S. After we stopped recording, Natasha mentioned that she does a significant amount of custom jewelry for widows and others who are grieving. The photos below are of a custom ring, and a locket that contains ashes. I wanted to share them with you as well.