Bonnie jo Kyles at work in the studio
About the Jewelry
I hand fabricate 7 different metals and on some pieces torch fire sifted or painted enamels to create unpretentious designs with impeccable workmanship which are perfect for everyday wear or a night out. My jewelry creations are for the woman or man who values originality over convention and timelessness over trend.
My jewelry pieces are made from one of these metals: sterling silver, fine silver, copper, brass, pewter, bronze or aluminum. The metals used as a base for enameled pieces are copper and fine silver. Some pieces are created using metalsmithing techniques such as hammering, chasing, embossing or etching. My copper designs often start out as shiny raw copper( recycled copper is used when possible) but I add an antiqued look to some designs by rapidly accelerating the aging process. This is done by dipping them in a solution that turns the copper almost black. I then hand polish the piece to bring out the highlights leaving the recessed areas dark. This shows off the texture in the piece. The same process is used for other metals. Stones are added to lend color and interest to a piece. Other pieces are made by sifting and/or painting enamels on copper or fine silver.
The enamels are finely ground glass so they need to be fired. Some of the enameling techniques I use are: sgraffito, separation, immersion, wet packing, liquid painting, stenciling, crackling, cloisonné and champlevé. There may be as many as 8 layers of enamel on a piece (sometimes even more than 8) and each layer is sifted or painted on, then fired with a torch. Many enamelists use a kiln for firing but I have always used a torch.
About the Artist
The creativity shown in my work traces back to the many projects I was engaged in at an early age. I used that creativity in my 38 years of elementary teaching through the many art projects done with my students and incorporating art in many other subject areas. Most of my skills as an artist have been self- taught, however I did have some workshops in Philadelphia with nationally recognized metalsmiths and an enamelist who shares my experiences with teaching first graders.
My sister introduced me to wireworking which quickly evolved into metalsmithing so that more intricate designs could be created. Using 7 different metals did lend color to my jewelry designs but adding enameling to my repertoire has taken my designs to a new level. Due to passion and perseverance my art is continually evolving.
My studio is situated in the foothills of the Gravelly Mountains near Ennis, Montana and just northwest of Yellowstone National Park. The inspiration for much of my work comes from the flora and fauna of the surrounding mountains. What gives me great pleasure is knowing that people from all around the world enjoy wearing my jewelry!
unpretentious designs +impeccable workmanship