THE W GALLERY FEATURE ARTIST
Jewelry Designer: Erica Montejo
Location: Lakewood, Ohio U.S.A.
Experience: 7 Years
Materials: Silver, bronze, gold, gemstones, wood.
Influences: Nature, cityscapes, midcentury modern furniture design, art deco.
From a gratifying process of play and exploration, Tiny Erica Jewelry by Erica Montejo was first born in early 2010 and over the past six years it has metamorphosed into a refined and playful body of work that often combines sleek clean lines with just the right amount of rough-and-tumbled texture to create a collection of jewelry that is minimal, organic, versatile, and enjoyable to wear. Erica obtained her BFA from Edinboro University in 2009 with dual degrees in graphic design and metalsmithing, so both the aesthetic and design principles utilized in her body of work are often informed by her graphic design background as well as her current surroundings and experiences. The influences of underlying grid systems, sleek architectural elements, and linear structures of her environment often find their way into sketchbooks and onto scraps of paper, and finally into small scale precious metal sculptures on her bench in her studio. Metalsmithing has always been an incredibly gratifying process of experimentation and learning for Erica: the ideas that strike at a moment's notice (or after many hours of brainstorming), the numerous sketches made to work out the logistics of successfully constructing a piece, carefully choosing the materials that work best with each design, and finally working with her own two hands to see to it that her ideas come to fruition -- forging, soldering, shaping, filing, sanding, polishing, and stone setting. The process is challenging and enjoyable, calculated and cathartic, and with each new piece of jewelry that she creates she learns something new about both the process of making and herself.