Artist Interview with Jeanne Boydston

Artist Interview with Jeanne Boydston

As a child, I loved to look through my grandmother’s jewelry box.  I examined the bright pieces of glass and metal, delighting in the colors and shapes.  This fascination with jewelry continued through my teen years and by college, I was designing my own beaded jewelry.

In time, I developed a passion for working with sterling silver, cabochons and other natural gemstones. I view my jewelry as a small piece of art that the wearer can carry along with them.  Many different sources inspire my work: patterns cast by a sunset, the clean lines of art deco architecture, or sometimes even the stones themselves.   The seed for a new jewelry design may come from something as mundane as a light fixture or as grand as the waves on an ocean beach.  In short, my jewelry reflects my own life experiences and imagination.  I get an enormous amount of satisfaction from taking an abstract idea, solving the ascetic and technical issues in its construction and finally seeing the physical object take shape.

Q. How did you get involved in your current artistic medium?

Jeanne:  I’ve always been fascinated with jewelry, not just its ascetic values but also the symbolism and sociological aspects.  I started out making bead jewelry,  then had a brief flirtation with making glass beads.  Finally, I discovered sterling silver and it became my passion.  Since, 2010 I’ve been selling my original art jewelry thought various art shows and other venues in central Iowa.  I am currently represented by the Octagon center for the Arts Shop in Ames. (

Q.  What materials and processes are used in your work?

Jeanne:  My jewelry is designed and fabricated one piece at a time.  The construction process involves coaxing metal into a specific shape by using a variety of tools and techniques.  Generally, I employ the traditional fabrication methods such as sawing, soldering, forging and polishing.  However, I also explore new methods of manipulating the sterling silver and stones to achieve the desired effect.  I am largely self-taught, utilizing books, instructions videos, Internet jewelry forums and a few local classes.  The techniques and tricks gleamed from the teachers in these classes have proved to be invaluable.

Ring, fabricated silver, tube set London Blue topaz

 Q. What inspires your work?

Jeanne:  The inspiration for a new jewelry design usually comes from my observations of the world around me.  It might be an architectural detail, the leaf of a tree or maybe the patterns of sunlight on water.  Sometimes the gemstone cabochons will suggest ideas.

Q.  What are you currently working on?

Jeanne:  Usually, I have several projects going simultaneously.  The one that is nearest completion is a multi-strand bracelet.  The strands are constructed in a double loop-in-loop pattern with tubular end caps.  The final bracelet will have turquoise beads interspaced between the strands. I’ve also started to collect reference photographs for a series of lockets loosely based on plant forms.

Jeanne Boydston

Work in progress: Test fitting the turquoise beads prior to the final fabrication steps

Q.  What other artistic interests do you have?

Jeanne:  I’ve dabbled in hand bookbinding, fiber arts and am currently attempting to learn watercolors.

Q.  Tell us something that most people don’t know about you that they would find interesting?

Jeanne: I know how to make bobbin lace, collect antique perfume bottles and love to cook.