Brilliance: Karen Gilbert

Brilliance: Karen Gilbert

Karen Gilbert, Collection

Karen Gilbert, Collection, 2010, sterling silver, silver, enamel, coral, Pyrex glass, stainless steel, 16 x 7 x 2 in. This neckpiece (and wallpiece) can be worn as a unit or as three separate objects. Photo: Karen Gilbert

Karen Gilbert worked her way through college making fashion jewelry for a designer. Her career began in earnest in 1994. Today, says Andrea DiNoto, her work “displays a highly refined mixed-media sensibility in which metal and glass create a striking, nearly symphonic interplay of light, form, and texture.”

How she describes her work: “My work explores ideas of beauty and comfort by merging materials of contrasting nature and challenging conceptions of form and function. Working with materials such as oxidized sterling silver, glass, precious stones, and textiles, the sculptural nature of my jewelry finds inspiration in the microcosm of our everyday world.”

Her biggest artistic influences: “I find inspiration in the work of Louise Bourgeois, Martin Puryear, and Tara Donovan. While there are many others, it is these artists I always go back to.”

What makes her work unique: “My approach to material I try to keep uniquely my own. I mostly create while unaware of the end result, and I react to what I have created in a fluid, back-and-forth process of awareness and instinct.”

Why she makes jewelry: “Instinct, love, necessity, and an uncontrollable current.”

Her biggest reward: “I almost feel as though I am creating life, a certain amount of magic that is worthy of existence.”

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