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(Image courtesy of Laney Clark)
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Artist of the Week: Laney Clark

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at gmwynkoop@sbgtv.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating?
Laney Clark: Being raised by two incredibly creative parents, I couldn’t help but spend my entire childhood creating some type of art. I was always sneaking into my mom’s art studio in the basement to play with clay, squeeze oil paint tubes or hanging out in my room making woven wire and seed bead rings. With that said, as an adult, I have been creating with metal since my very late teens. Doing some quick and dirty math, that puts it at near 30 years.

Do you work with other mediums?
Yes! I don’t do idle well. As zen as it sounds to sit and do nothing? I just find it impossible to actually do so. When I am not creating jewelry, I am either crocheting something super soft and silly, drawing a mountain (Mount Rainier is my personal favorite), painting a pine tree landscape or brushing up on my amateur tarot card reading skills.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I am best known for my hand pierced metal jewelry designs. Each one of my pierced pieces starts out as a hand sketched design that I then use my jeweler’s saw to pierce (or saw) the sketched design out of a sheet of metal. Because every single one is drawn by hand, they are all just a little different. I try to keep the designs clean and simple because I realized long ago, that simplicity speaks volumes. Less is more, and such. Every piece of jewelry I create is a small piece of art that is meant to be worn.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I moved to Washington state over 25 years ago for one main reason: the trees. Those same trees are the driving inspiration for the majority of my jewelry designs. Tall, slender pines reaching up into the starry skies make my heart happy. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by how many trees my saw has sawn out so I turn to the urban landscape for design ideas. Straight angles, bright colors and bold skylines can also be found as some of the underlying inspiration for my work.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Nature, undeniably.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
Two or so years ago I purchased my first piece of loose Royston turquoise. The moment that stone showed up at my door, I made a ring with it, that just happened to end up fitting me. I kept that ring and I wear it every day. While it may not seem particularly special to anyone else, I consider it a memento of a turning point in my career. After building my business with my pierced designs over many years, I have been able to expand my designs that incorporate my amazing collection of gemstones. I’ve always had a soft spot for rocks. As anyone who is in the jewelry business knows, it is not an easy path to be successful in because we tend to be a “dime a dozen.” But I am at a point now that I can do more of the things I love doing because I have such amazing customers that continue to support my business! I don’t take this support lightly. I am very grateful.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
This is not a simple question to answer as the list is far too long to list here. My childhood, that first moment I walked into the “beginning jewelry making” class offered at the City of Las Vegas Parks and Rec department, the birth of my only child, my spouse, Paul and all of the amazing artists that have been there along the way. That’s the short list. My mental health insists I create. And my stubbornness allowed (or forced) me to master using a jeweler’s saw. I owe all of the above to where I am now.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I sell, in person, weekly at the Olympia Farmers Market. That is the best place to see my latest work. I also post near daily on Instagram, user name: silentgoddess. You can see my works in process there. Plus learn how I do what I do. I also have a website: www.silentgoddess.com.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I love to make jewelry with an element that only the wearer knows about. Often times the back side of a piece of jewelry is the most boring part of the piece. I like to incorporate a pierced design behind a stone that allows a piece to be two sided if the owner decides to share that hidden secret. I’ve been working on a series of such pieces.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Strong with a good dash of sweet cream.

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