This week, blogger June Martin of Moth & Twig interviewed Barbara Battilega Brosh of Barb's Metal Magic! Barbara's work is truly unique, organic, and beautiful. Find out more about Barbara and her work!
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined in January 2015. I wanted to have a place to showcase my work and didn’t want to do shows any longer.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the Portland area. I lived in San Jose, CA for about nine years and then moved back to Portland. I also lived in Seattle for a year.
What’s your background?
I am a retired RN but I have always had an interest in jewelry. I’ve done a lot of other things too, such as working as a billing clerk and a secretary. I trained as a nursing assistant at Stanford University Hospital and worked there from 1969 to 1971. I moved back to Portland after a trip across the country for two months. I worked at Good Samaritan Hospital for a couple of years, and then I got married. After having two children I went back to school at the age of 40 and became a RN. I worked in hospitals and at a state prison. I also worked as a trainer in a nursing home and I’ve worked with the developmentally disabled. After I retired in 2007, I took classes in metalsmithing and jewelry making from 2009 to 2014.
Why do you do what you do?
I enjoy making unique pieces of jewelry. My copper and brass pieces are one-of-a-kind so no one will have the exact piece of jewelry as anyone else. I also enjoy wirewrapping stones and drusys.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word?
Unique, because I create things that are different. A good portion of my jewelry is organic and unique.
What types of materials do you like to work with and why?
I work mostly with copper, brass, and bronze. I like the looks of these metals and they fit my organic style. I also work with silver and my wire wrapping is mostly done with Argentium silver because of its slow tarnishing to non-tarnishing quality. I use sterling for the chains on my expensive pendants. For lower priced pendants, I use base metal or stainless steel chains. I also create roosters out of copper and then paint them with alcohol ink.
Where do you create?
I have a bedroom in my home that has been transformed into a studio.
What motivates your work?
Sometimes, something I see on the Internet or in books. Once inspired, I make it my own so that it is different from the item I have seen.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
I don’t have any rituals; I just start working on a piece. Sometimes I make a mistake. These mistakes have become some of my best work because they are really different from what I started to do.
Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve created?
Yes, I love the pendant below! It was made from what was supposed to be a bracelet until it broke into 3 pieces. I added a carnelian and made a very organic bezel. I also made the earrings from one of the pieces.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
I would love to be a painter!
What do you like to do when you aren’t creating?
Read, watch TV, and travel.
Stop by Artistic Portland any day of the week 10am-6pm (noon-5 pm on Sundays) to see and purchase Barbara's work in person!