Artist Biographies

A Jewelry Invitational


Eliana Arenas is a jewelry and installation artist from Mexico, currently living in Charlotte, NC. Her work is in the collection of the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR and she has participated in selected exhibitions such as ACC Baltimore and Atlanta and the Thirteenth Annual SOFA Chicago.  In 2011, she received a three-month residency at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation in Charlotte, NC and she was nominated by the North Carolina Arts Council to participate in a Creative Capital Professional Development Retreat. Her work has been featured in several publications such as The Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewelers 2008, 500 Pendants & Lockets: Contemporary Interpretations of Classic Adornments and 1000 Rings: Inspiring Adornments for the Hand.  

Linda Azar is a studio jeweler living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She grew up in Saint Petersburg, Florida and received a BA in Architecture from the University of Florida. After moving to Asheville NC, she completed a two-year Professional Craft program for Metals and Jewelry at Haywood Community College. Linda exhibits her work in select galleries and numerous craft shows.  She has also been a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild since 2014. Linda’s work consists largely of compositions inspired by the interrelationship between the organic and the architectural. She often finds inspiration by observing subtle details in the world around her, such as plants forging their way through sidewalks, branches springing forth from a tree or the unintended patterns created by erosion. She works primarily with silver and semi-precious stones.

Gabrielle Gould is a St. Augustine based jeweler whose work is inspired by coastal Florida. Gould fabricates animal forms representative of the southern landscape, such as indigenous birds and fish with enameled colors. She also frequently incorporates elements such as feathers and shells in her designs, that are set against a silver or high karat gold framework. She states that her goal is to, “convey harmony in design, grace in execution with a sense of elegant simplicity.”

Jason Janow graduated from the Haywood Community College- Professional Crafts Jewelry Program in Clyde, NC in 2004 and has actively exhibited his work at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville, NC.  He utilizes the lost wax casting method to transform found branches and tree bark into metal which is often paired with river stones and gems.  He states, “I believe in the early Arts and Crafts Movement's philosophy that artists should use materials that are local and familiar to them. And so, when I leave a trout stream, my pockets are often filled with such treasures as river stones and twigs. Back at my studio, these materials come together with precious metals and gems that I work into my jewelry designs.”  

Allison Kline received a BFA in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. She experiments with painting, printmaking, bookmaking, and sewing, in her New Smyrna Beach studio but her emphasis is on creating jewelry as wearable pieces of art. She often works with vitreous enamel on copper paired with silver. More recently, she has been exploring the process of electroforming, fusing copper onto objects such as shells, seeds, leaves, and other organic materials. These electroformed objects are then incorporated into her silver and enamel jewelry. 

Jennifer Letter is a silversmith who uses traditional techniques to create modern pieces in sterling silver. She first discovered this passion in San Francisco, where she learned the craft and served as a studio assistant at the Sharon Arts Studio.  Her recent move to Colorado is proving to be a fertile environment for creativity, teenager-wrangling and making shiny things.

Nikki Nation earned her BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and her MA in Arts Administration from the University of Denver. Her work is inspired by urban landscapes, textures, patterns, repetition, and design elements. All of her creations are made using traditional metalsmithing techniques, focusing on hammering, forging, texturing and stone setting.

Mary Schimpff Webb  (1922-2019) is considered a pioneer of modern art jewelry design. Her modernist designs are revered for their fluid and sculptural integration of form and function. She earned many prestigious awards and honors throughout her career including the De Beers Diamond USA Award for Design in 1955 and 1956 and the De Beers Diamond International Award for Design in 1958 and 1959. These achievements provided her with an exclusive membership to the Diamonds International Academy Collection and traveling exhibitions. She was featured in the New Talent  issue of Art in America in 1961. She has exhibited her work in venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, and Georg Jensen of 5th Avenue. Her work is also included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution of Art, Washington, DC as part of the U.S. State Department’s cultural exchange program to promote American Modernism. In 2015, Webb was inducted into the prestigious National Metalsmith's Hall of Fame.

Wendy Thurlow earned her BFA in Metalsmithing from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has been producing one of a kind and limited edition jewelry for over 18 years. Her award-winning creations have been exhibited and published widely, and she has private collectors worldwide. Thurlow's pieces incorporate centuries-old techniques with mixed metals, surface embellishments, and high-quality stones to produce jewelry that is both organic and sculptural.  Her collection is award-winning and has been praised for its individuality. Wendy's eye for composition and attention to form and detail enable her to create a distinct style of jewelry.  
Jeff & Susan Wise have worked together on the creation of art jewelry for 30 years at their studio in Durango, Colorado. They are goldsmiths and stone-cutters who make boldly elegant pieces that are light and comfortable to wear. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institute, Boston Museum of Fine Art, and the New York Museum of Art and Design.