Jesse Mathes working

Jewelry Studio Demo Artist: Jesse Mathes

Jesse Mathes’ art has been inspired by her time as a traveler and, more recently, her role as a mother.

A Colorado native with degrees in metalsmithing and jewelry, Jesse Mathes creates large-scale pieces using various metals that act as body adornments, ranging from corsets to collars, inspired by her travels in France.

“While I was there I was followed a few times, and I wished I had some kind of barrier to keep them away,” Mathes says. “Around the same time I was studying Queen Elizabeth and how she used really big adornments to make herself look more powerful, so I combined the two ideas and started making really big adornment pieces that created a boundary.”

Some of her pieces focus on the face, covering the wearer’s face to illustrate a desire to hide, while others poke out in all directions, illustrating the feeling of aggression.

She also makes smaller-scale jewelry. Generally, working with crocheting techniques, creating a shape she finds attractive, then recreating it and attaching the separate parts to create one final piece.

“That’s what I usually do for the crochet stuff. I’ve started to really like doing a repetition of a simple form. So I’ll make one and then a bunch of them, maybe experiment with color first and see which colors I can put together and then I’ll go from there.

Today, with two young children, she says that her work is centered on motherhood, for the most part moving away from traditional jewelry and more toward sentimental pieces for herself. Mathes creates solid interpretations of her emotional state, showing an extension of herself in every piece she creates.

Jesse Mathes will be in the Jewelry Studio demonstrating large scale metal adornments on January 24 and 25.

Meera Alul is the content marketing intern in the communications department at the Denver Art Museum in fall 2014. Her favorite exhibition that has been on view here is Becoming Van Gogh.