Friday, February 1, 2008

InnerViews: Andrea Williams

InnerViews: A Creative Interview with Andrea Williams

This InnerView features Weymouth-based jewelry designer, Andrea Williams. Andrea's nature-inspired designs include the use of precious metals in conjunction with seemingly ordinary organic materials. She studied jewelry and metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design and her work can be found throughout the U.S. including selected galleries in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Massachusetts.

Image: Andrea Williams in her studio

JJLJ: Hello Dre - Welcome to this session of InnerViews and thank you for agreeing to participate!

AW: Thanks for having me. I'm honored you thought of me.

JJLJ: How did you come to work in jewelry and metalsmithing?

AW: When I was in High School in Maine I took a beginning jewelry class and was hooked. The idea that I could transform a hard piece of metal into something delicate using only fire and my own strength gave a focus to my already active interest in the visual arts. It satisfied my need to build something with my hands. The head of the Art Department / Jewelry Instructor at Gould Academy saw the spark in me and took me under his wing. Senior year he arranged for me to pursue an independent study and was instrumental in my applying to RISD.

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: What continues to be a source of inspiration for your work?

AW: Some people are people watchers. They sit in the crowd and study the details of the passers by. I sit on the beach or in the woods and study the details and patterns in the rocks, bark, and fallen leaves. The way the rocks were laid on the beach as the tide receded on near my mother's home were the catalyst for the Sa series of stone jewelry. I try to stay open to inspiration from any source. Our son Cosmus always sees with fresh eyes and is a constant source of ideas. He commented to me while walking our dog one evening, "Mommy, the moon is following me." That became the basis for a children's book I'm illustrating. In fact, sometimes I work on my visions before really thinking them through. While sitting in my living room, I realized I couldn't see the pond. Within 2 hours, the wall was bashed down to the studs. I met my husband at the door with a glass of wine and this disclaimer... 'I've done something, but keep an open mind, its gonna be great.'

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: Is there anyone who has played a significant role in your career?

AW: Jim Owen at Gould was instrumental in my taking the first steps. My husband not only does my web design and photography but also serves as my harshest and best critic as well as my muse.

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: What are you currently working on?

AW: My next series is a conceptual study in the zen of bird flocks, using birds as a surrogate for the spiritual beings within us. I'm particularly fascinated with the 'break away birds'- the ones that for some unseen reason choose to pull away from the masses. I am working on small silver and gold repousse´ panels of flocking birds. I am also using depletion guilding and patination to give dimension and depth.

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: How do you see your work influencing others?

AW: I hope that my work is an avenue for people to see the simple beauty that nature affords us. The birds nest we pass and never see, the wind making patterns in a field, the breakaway birds in a flock, the laugh lines on your lover's face when they smile, the multitude of polished stones we pass on the beach - too easily we miss the breathtaking beauty of these moments. My choice of materials make it impossible to use these works as status pieces. They are inherently designed to keep the wearer grounded.

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: What is the strangest or funniest comment or question you've ever gotten about your work?

AW: I keep a bowl of rocks as part of my display at a shows- one person asked if it was candy, another asked if the rocks were real. The funny thing about the bowl of rocks is it becomes a study of human nature. Some people instinctually reach out to touch the rocks -often unaware that they are even caressing them, others feel the need to ask permission.

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: What is your idea of personal success?

AW: My idea of personal success is to live on the water with the man that I love, and a child that we love, designing jewelry that inspires me and having people respond to it. Early in my career I worried too much about what the market wanted and finding a niche. It nearly broke my spirit and I took some time off to follow one of my other passions as a chef. The work I do now is a reflection of my confidence and focus. I have to connect with the work or I will not pursue it.

JJLJ: Are there any links you would like to share?

AW: My husband's site is -worth having a look at for his balanced rocks alone.

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams

JJLJ: Thank you, Andrea for contributing to InnerViews. We wish you continued success and look forward to following your career (& wearing your unique jewelry)!

AW: Thanks Jenny! I hope to see you at your show on Martha's Vineyard this summer.

For more information on Andrea's work, please visit her website:

Jewelry Design © Andrea Williams