two images of women wearing necklaces made by Jesse Mathes

3-D Demo Artist Jesse Mathes

Jesse Mathes will be in the 3-D Studio demonstrating weaving metal February 24-25. Photos courtesy of the artist and Paul Miller.

Olivia Davies: What will your demonstration at the DAM look like? What can visitors expect?

Jesse Mathes: I will be giving a demonstration of how to create textiles from sheet metal and wire with numerous techniques. I plan to show crochet with thin gauged wire, plain weave with sheet metal, and wire, coiling, and basket weaving. I will also have handouts listing metal suppliers and recommended “how to” books in case visitors would like to try the techniques at home.

OD: What are the most important elements in your work?

JM: I enjoy making work that is dramatic and large scale. I am influenced my historical clothing, particularly from the era of Elizabethan clothing in the early 1600’s. I love how the collars worn by Elizabeth I made her the most visually dominant person in the room.

OD: Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

JM: Crocheting wire is my favorite technique for making textiles out of metal. I find the process very meditative, and I like that it requires one small tool. It is also very portable. I can make small forms one at a time and then sew them together later. In this way I can make work anywhere. Even if I only have a few minutes in a waiting room I can still get a little bit done. One of my favorite ways to make a design is to choose a small simple form, and then make lots of them to create a complicated form.

I crochet enameled wire and tend to choose vibrant colors. I like to crochet two different color strands at once. At a distance the eye combines the colors, and in that way I have a much larger color pallet.

OD: Upon first glance, the woven metal pieces on your website look like they are made of fabric. How did you start using metal to make textiles?

JM: I learned the techniques from Arline Fisch while studying metalsmithing at San Diego State University. She makes beautiful work, and was a wonderful mentor. She encouraged us to make large-scale adornment outside of traditional jewelry, and to experiment with sculptural forms.

Olivia Davies was a studio and artist programs intern in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum.

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