Kendall Reiss MFA 11 JM
Based in Bristol, RI
What are some things that inspire you in your studio practice?
In my work I combine natural and found materials with precious metal to produce jewels that are one-of-a-kind. Above all, simplicity, wearability and femininity are the primary considerations in my process of design and hand fabrication. My background in geology and my fascination with the natural world factor heavily in material choices, design combinations, and construction of the final object. Each piece is fabricated entirely by hand in my studio in Bristol, RI. The resulting work is clean and sophisticated; a synthesis of minimal forms, hard and soft elements, and texturally sumptuous materials combined to produce contemporary wearable art.
Does your current creative practice tie into your time spent at RISD? How so?
Since earning a MFA from RISD in 2011, my studio practice has concentrated on the design and fabrication of one-of-a-kind commissioned pieces of jewelry. These pieces are typically made of precious metal: silver, gold, or platinum, combined with precious and semi-precious gemstones, as well as found and collected natural materials. Alongside my studio practice as a jeweler, I also make small-scale sculptural installations, which focus on catalyzing and documenting the growth of verdigris on copper forms.
My training at RISD taught me to trust my voice and perspective as a multi-disciplinary artist – to combine my scientific training with my studio practice, to continually ask, probe, question, study, research, and inquire at the same time as I am making. I think about my time at RISD as the glue that brought it all together. The connections I made and the work I started there carry through until today and continue to inform my practice.
Is there a work/body of work that you are particularly excited about sharing with us at RISD Craft this year?
From September – May I am on the full-time faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston. During the summer, I have the time and space to fully immerse in the studio, to explore my practice in a different way. By cultivating a rhythm of focused researching and making, I am able to design and create new pieces, while also fueling my sense of wonder. My experiences and discoveries are folded back into the work, resulting in pieces that are fresh, the work continually shifting; taking new forms.
Any recent press/exhibitions/achievements you'd like to share with us?
In January 2017, I purchased a commercial property in my hometown, Bristol, RI. The quaint and inviting gallery and teaching space also serves as my studio. Visitors to this mid-century brick and mortar shop can browse the collection of contemporary jewelry offered for sale, see what’s brewing in the studio, or come take a class or workshop.
I also had a recent feature in the Providence Business News: Her Art is in Redesign - March 24-30, 2017 by Eli Sherman.
To see more of Kendall's work, visit kendallreiss.com