Brilliance: Kiff Slemmons

Brilliance: Kiff Slemmons

Kiff Slemmons, Thirteen Necklaces and a Bracelet

Thirteen necklaces and a bracelet by Kiff Slemmons from 2011 – 12, made of handmade paper, cotton, and agave. Photo: Rod Slemmons

Kiff Slemmons has made a four-decade career of elevating nonprecious materials in distinctive creations. She “continues to work to the beat of her own drummer,” says Susan Cummins.

How she describes her work: “Intelligent, clear, and mysterious – often requiring more than one to complete an idea.”

Her biggest artistic influences: “Tribal jewelry of Africa and the Arctic, writers like W.G. Sebald, artists like Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, Inca stonemasons, and hand-activated tools and devices.”

What makes her work unique: “What makes it unique is that it is not unique, but rather a distillation and rearrangement of many materials and ideas that have gone before.”

Her training: “Obsessive observation.”

Why she makes jewelry: “In order to put something clear and mysterious in a complicated and messy world.”

Her biggest challenge: “Convincing myself and a few others that putting something clear and mysterious in a complicated and messy world matters.”

What she’s working on now: “Consolidation.”

What’s next: “Distillation.”

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