One of SAGE's newest members, Deryn Mentock, uses precious stones and silversmithing to create beautiful jewelry compositions. Deryn is also an instructor and published author, and her work has often been featured in Belle Armoire and Jewelry Affair Magazines. Learn more about her process below:
Business Name: Something Sublime
Studio Name and Location: Owl Creek Studio; Big Goose Road
Describe your artwork:
I am a metalsmith who creates wearable art from sterling and stones. My work is completely handmade, in small batches. It’s a deep reflection of my spirituality and surroundings. My style is eclectic and unique; a little bit rustic, a little bit earthy and, at the same time, feminine. Sometimes even with a bit of western/Southwest flare.
What inspires your artwork?
My work is inspired by my spirituality, but I’m also very inspired by nature. I’m a bit of a rock-hound so stones are a huge inspiration, as well.
What are the artistic influences in your artwork?
I’ve always loved the work of Alexander Calder and am very inspired by his wire works, as well as his forged work. The classic works of Native American jewelry artists are a huge inspiration to me. I especially love the work of Charles Lomomo, but am also so inspired by older, more rustic works. Classic works of religious art are very inspiring to me, as well.
What life experiences inform your artwork?
2020 has been a heck of a year! Among other things, I lost my brother this year, and was compelled to make a line of rings, in his honor. My Riverbed Rings were inspired by the mosaic of river rock found in, and along, a riverbed. I used various types of stones in each piece, usually three but sometimes four, fitted together along with sterling star embellishments reminiscent of starfish, or stars in the sky. My brother was an avid fisherman and spent many hours fishing the rivers of both Oregon and Wyoming, as well as the Pacific ocean. His favorite catch was chinook salmon, so each ring includes a tiny, sterling salmon on the back.
If you title your artwork, what determines the result?
I will typically title collections, which are made up of similar pieces. Sometimes the stones I use will determine the title, but more often it’s what the pieces bring to mind. A good example of this is the Riverbed Ring collection. I usually title my collections according to what the pieces represent, or the feelings they invoke. I did a collection of rings entitled Shrine Rings. They were very much spiritually inspired and each one was set with a vintage religious medal, as well as various stones to compliment.
What do you think about when you are designing and creating?
Designing and creating are two different processes for me. When I’m designing pieces, I’m immersed in deciding what stones to use, what embellishments to include, what colors and textures the pieces will contain, and the meaning behind the pieces. What do I want the pieces to convey? So I’m really caught up in the design process, at that stage. Creating is a bit different and more of an escape and release for me. During the creation process I can let go of everyday thoughts and just focus on the physical steps needed to complete the pieces. I don’t have to think about anything, if I don’t want to!
What music do you play while you are working?
I typically listen to podcasts when I work. There’s a pretty wide variety of things I’ll listen to: classic literature, true crime, politics, self improvement. When I do listen to music, it can be anything from classical, to pop, to classic rock, to country.
What are you doing in your studio now?
Right now I’m working on round two of the Riverbed Rings. The first batch was very cathartic for me and also very well received by my customers so I’m working on a second collection of them. Those are close to being finished. When they are, lined up on my bench are some owl bone carvings (for pendants and rings), some gorgeous ivory creek variscite and some beautiful multi colored tourmaline. I feel some bangles and earrings coming on!