This will be the first post of my new Interesting Artists series. Once a week I will pick an unusual artist to interview for Tales from the Studio, and we’ll peek inside the mind of another jeweler to see what goes on inside their studios. I hope you enjoy!
Today I’m talking with Mark Kaplan, an accomplished metalsmith with a great eye for design and an unusual way of treating found objects.
Good morning Mark! How’s your studio going this morning?
Hello there— mmm… morning?
I’m really not much of a morning person at all (never have been); for me night time is the right time… I stay up fairly late and so I’m not much of an early riser… I never go to bed until I see the other side of midnight…
Tell us about yourself, how did you get started with your art jewelry?
Well, whadda you want to know… my first boy scout merit badge was in jewelery making and that was a long time ago… In addition to making jewelery, I also do a fair bit of kayak fishing and I spend a good amount of my time in south Asia… I’ve recently returned to my home in Rhode Island after a year spent in Asia and prior to that I was living in Rome for two years… so I’ve sort of been away from my home for a pretty long while… but I generally manage to conjure up some sort of a studio where ever I happen to be… I enjoy connecting to and working with other jewelery makers as I travel… on occasion I’ve been know to collaborate… in the past I’ve worked in a lot of different environments… I’ve often worked sitting cross-legged on the ground as is the style for goldsmiths in Africa and Asia… I’ve worked far up in the mountains and once in the desert I made nose rings for Rabari tribal women… there is something universal about personal adornment and I really enjoy tapping into that totality among humanity…
What do you think makes you unique from other artists?
I dunno… I’m certain that I am definitely different from the average American; I don’t try to be that way… it just sort of happens that way… I mostly just listen to my inner self and don’t really care too much what others think anyway…
What event has been the most affecting to you as an artist?
Well… maybe it was receiving my first passport; that allowed me to see the world in a completely different way or maybe it was going to art school, that allowed me to see art in a different way…
What is your favorite piece currently listed in your shop?
My favorite is always the piece that I’m currently working on but, I guess, it would have to be these Fructis shampoo earrings.
It was sort of the nexus of my focus last year… it combines recycling (plastic shampoo bottles) and found objects (old beer bottle caps) plus I feel especially good about it because it is a completely new technique for myself and one that I’ve not ever seen done elsewhere…
Your found object jewelry is so amazing, what made you decide to incorporate these items?
I’m a scavenger and a clutter person by nature… always have been… its a good way to survive… at least it works for me.
How did you get started on etsy.com?
I just sort of stumbled across it one day… I signed up a long time ago but I’m not really much of a cyber person but one day I felt like, “Hey- what’s 20 cents?”
and decided to give it a whirl… I listed something and sold that very same day… I’ve been overjoyed ever since…
Do you have your work anywhere else?
Yes a few galleries have some of my work both on this side of the world and the other…. plus (and most important to me) it can be found on the fingers, ears, noses, necks, wrists and ankles of many peoples that I’ve met as I travel along this path in life…
Thanks very much, Mark. It was a pleasure to talk with you…
Yes, it has been… and thank you for your interest in my work, I appreciate it.
You can check out Mark’s other work at his etsy shop.
and i thought i had a full life very interesting
I love Mark jewelries! He is great !
Thank you for this beautiful post!
This is a terrific post. Mark does make beautiful, creative items and I’m proud to call him my teammate.
Just by look at your art – It so clear that you visit many places and have a wide and open point of view toward people/world. Your art is so unique, independent and authentic – I find it so inspiring!