Brilliance: Jamie Bennett

Brilliance: Jamie Bennett

Jamie Bennett, Matter of Appearance #16

Jamie Bennett, Matter of Appearance #16, 2011, enamel, gold, 2.75 x 3.1 in. Photo: Anat Shiftan

In his nearly 40-year career, Jamie Bennett has taken his medium to new heights. He is known for his brooches, but in all of his forms, color and composition play shining roles. “Bennett’s finely conceived ‘canvases’ have earned him recognition as one of the most innovative and accomplished enamellers of our time,” says Ursula Ilse-Neuman.

How he describes his work: “I generally say I am a studio jeweler and I work with enamel and gold. The picture people have in their heads when you say you are a jeweler is usually of a commercial nature; I can’t do anything about that.”

What makes his work unique: “I do the best I can with what I have.”

Why he makes jewelry: “I’ve worked in a number of formats and mediums. I still do a lot of drawing and painting, but jewelry’s hybrid life is quite appealing to me; it’s both intimate and public, it has a human scale but a social spectrum, it is raw in one culture and cooked in another, it is vain and often modest. And then there is the making itself – a very satisfying and still mystifying act to me.”

His biggest reward: “That occasional piece that is a breakthrough, when you feel or see something in the work that is not part of the day-to-day, but rather the result of study and work.”

What he is working on now: “Jewelry and drawings in a series called Among Etcetera. The pieces follow a long interest I have had in composite images, merging biological and mechanical representations. The works are on exhibit now in a solo show at Antonella Villanova gallery in Florence, Italy.”

Read the rest of the profiles of jewelry artists in this issue.