We are back in the States again for another instalment of our feature artist series. We absolutely love bringing these blogs to you all as it allows us an opportunity to connect with makers in our worldwide industry. 

Jessica Rangel is the self-taught coppersmith of Copper and Stone and this is her story.

1. Tell us about you! Who is Jessica?
Hi, I'm Jessica! I've lived most my life here on the Central Coast of California, USA and have always had a paintbrush, sewing needle or hammer in my hand! Growing up I had this insatiable need to be making something at all times. You name the medium, I've probably tried it out. Sewing and oil painting are two that I loved most. Also I'm a big nerd! I'm a rock collecting, dinosaur loving, Star Wars watching kind of nerd. Before creating jewellery full time, I was a self-employed housekeeper and still keep in touch with many of my clients. I love them! 

2. How did you get into copper jewellery and/or art?
My copper adventures started when I couldn't find the style of jewellery I wanted to wear, so I set out to make my own. Having no metalsmithing experience, my husband suggested using copper since we had a surplus from his work as a contractor. I was instantly hooked!
Copper is the new gold in my book, I love it that much! The way it's easy to manipulate, yet extremely durable, the way it patinas, the warm colour it has... So good! It's been such a fun challenge to solder copper designs, since there is no copper coloured solder in existence, you can't get a perfect colour match the way you would with silver and gold. It takes extra skill and patience to make joints disappear, and I've really enjoyed figuring out ways to make a successful design.

3. What was the first piece you ever made? 
The first pair of earrings I made were small copper hoops with Turquoise dangling at the bottom. That was 10 years ago! I would create jewellery off and on for myself and friends, and then I was able to dive in full time in 2020!

4. What is your favourite piece you've ever made and where is it now?
That would have to be "The Collectors!" I created miniature earring organizers, to be worn as earrings! They are so much fun to make, each pair is one of a kind with a unique set of tiny versions of earring styles from past collections. I don't have a record of how many pairs of those I've made, but I hope they're all out living their best life on their forever lobes! 

5. What are some notable features of your work?
I haven't had the privilege of accessorizing any celebrities (yet!) But from the beginning, I've always wanted to be as different as possible and made it my goal to push those boundaries and focus on original ideas. I like to make things I haven't seen before, or take simple styles and give them a twist. Then other times I like to jump full into a theme and go crazy, like with my Star Wars collection! That was really fun! The first time I made a miniature X-Wing earring I nearly passed out from excitement!
6. What is your favourite item to make?
I'd say my recent favourite design to make is "The Desert Is Calling" which is a desert landscape scene within a triangle, complete with miniature cacti. They were very labour intensive, but I loved being able to see my smithing skills improve! 

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In that timeframe, I hope to bring some other ideas of mine to life. I want to create art pieces for the home and other accessories all made from copper and natural elements. I'd love for Copper & Stone to grow into more than jewellery. We'll see!

8. Do you have any 'influences' or idols in the art/jewellery world, people that you draw inspiration from? If yes, who?
I'm enamoured by all metalsmiths, because it truly is such an interesting art form/skill, but if I'm honest, my main source of inspiration comes from the variety of stones I find! I love to figure out ways to best let them shine and it just so happens that copper is the best compliment for nearly EVERY stone!! Another inspiration comes from digital collage art. The way the artist mashes up a variety of photos, turning them into a brand new piece of art inspires me to look at things in new ways and not be afraid to shake things up and get weird! I really love the work by Morysetta and Collage Soul. (Peep their Instagram pages!)

9. Do you ship worldwide? If not, where do you ship to? Can we get your incredible work in Australia?
I ship worldwide!!! I've had the privilege of sending my designs out to various parts of Canada, Europe and Australia!! Sending packages out to those distances is always mind blowing and very humbling.
10. Is there anything you would like to say about you, your businesses' your art, the art world or even a favourite quote?
My favourite quote that I reflect on daily is:
"Comparison is the thief of joy" - Theodore Roosevelt
I love that quote because with social media it's easy to look around at all the amazing things other artists are accomplishing, and feel less than. But the world needs artists!! We need art in all forms!
I work hard not to compare, but rather to recognize I'm continually learning. New techniques, new tools, new ideas... It's all part of the process of creating, you never really know what I'll come up with next and I think that's a beautiful thing. I hope other artists can hold onto that mindset and keep creating at whatever stage they're in. Don't stop!
If you enjoyed reading Jessica's story, or are interested in checking out her collections (the Star Wars one sounds so cool!) you can head over to the Copper and Stone Instagram and follow along. 

If you are enjoying our feature series, please let us know in comments. 
- Love, 
Beth & Cam x 
July 08, 2022 — Elizabeth Fleming

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