Joe Korth's unique work is inspired by looking around at everyday objects and finding hidden imagery in his surroundings.
A self-taught jeweler, Korth works almost exclusively with silver and gold, with much of his work featuring a Korean technique called Keumboo. This ancient technique uses heat and pressure to bond pure gold sheets to pure silver.
“My work tends to be very evolutionary and very unique as far as the aesthetic, and far removed from a commercial situation,” Korth says. “When you become an established or developed artist, you want to have an aesthetic that’s your own. Somebody sees your work and they know it’s you.”
Korth earned a bachelor's of philosophy and literature from Eastern Michigan University. His interest in metal arts led him to the Clear Creek Academy of Jewelry and Metal Arts, formerly the Denver Jewelry Academy, where he now teaches metalsmithing.
Korth’s work typically features earth tones and combines geometric designs with organic forms to create jewelry ranging from brooches to earrings. Exploration and spontaneity are characteristic of his process. He often takes his inspiration from obscure references he finds in different motifs.
“I came from a background of learning from a custom jeweler, so it’s been a long process for me to break out of the conservative aesthetic. One of the things I’m really trying to push for is going more in the art direction, whatever that means. For me it means a really unique aesthetic, focusing on emotion and concept and making pieces that are somehow more expressive.”
Along with his signature style featuring Keumboo, Korth works with 3-D printing and a hydraulic press to create different shapes and patterns. He has also started working with enameling, working with the stones to bring out vibrant colors.
Korth currently serves as the president of the Colorado Metalsmithing Association, a fine arts organization dedicated to metal arts. The organization holds exhibitions and workshops for those interested in learning more about metalsmithing.
Joe Korth will be in the Jewelry Studio demonstrating Keumboo and 3-D Printing on November 22 and 23 and November 29 and 30.