Jody Ochs Design
Handcrafted Sculptural Art Jewelry using silver, mild steel and high karat gold.
A Minnesota native, I began designing and creating jewelry in 1994 by wrapping raw gemstones in gold and silver wire. Next, teaching myself lapidary skills, I began carving my own stones. Seeking a way to expand my design ideas, I decided to learn silver smithing - fabrication, leading into falling in love with making hollow forms. My current passion has been to learn to alloy different colors and karats of gold, then fuse it to mild steel to make my designs, which I have either chased or done a salt water etching design, or both.
Much of the work includes spiculums; hollow acicular forms. The spiculums themselves begin as raw flat sheet of silver or steel that is cut into particular shapes. These are formed over a groove on the end grain of a wood block by using a cross-pein hammer on the edge of the metal. The precise blow of the hammer begins to move the metal up and around, creating a hollow form. At times the seams are soldered and the pieces are then combined with other spiculums and/or gemstones set in hand fabricated 22 karat gold, fine silver or gold fused steel bezels. Some of the spiculums are forged in both anti-clastic and synclastic techniques allowing the curves to flow in different directions. At other times the seam is not bound with solder in the bracelets, as this allows enough movement in the bracelet to be flexible.
My jewelry path is a synthesis of my life and inner spiritual journey. Growing up in the military service, I lived in many places, including Japan and Germany, and have traveled most of Europe. Evidence of the influences of these cultures is seen in my work. In 1997, a strong yearning to take my journey to a more peaceful, quiet lifestyle, prompted my move from the inner city of Minneapolis to the pristine mountains of North Carolina. Nestling in the mountains near Asheville, has given way to a more intimate relationship with nature, and allowed me the peace of mind to expand both my creativity and metal smith skills.
When I am not in the studio, I am an avid organic gardener, homesteader of sorts. I've raised and bred a once vanishing breed of geese called Sebastopols. They can't fly and are spectacularly beautiful with white curly feathers that reach the ground, giving them the appearance of wearing a wedding dress! They are no longer endangered, so I have taken to raising Silver Appleyard ducks who are, currently on the critical list. They are one of the only "gourmet" ducks, and I will admit that I enjoy one now and again in the oven. But most will be hatched and sold to other homesteaders to bring back this adorable multi-purpose duck. They eat slugs and bugs, and dance!
I am a member of the following organizations:
Southern Highland Craft Guild
Carolina Designer Craftsman
AWARDS OF DISTINCTION
Finalist Saul Bell Competition 2003 - Silver Category
Best of Show - 2002 - Telfair Museum of Art