What: Metal artistic jewelry for men and women including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, broaches, cufflinks, tie bars and tacks. Warren described her work as “unique wearable objects” whose simple, clean forms render them contemporary, but timeless. Warren frequently enters her one-of- a-kind artistic pieces in juried art shows, priced $300 and up, but also does custom orders that are priced $50 and up.
Who: Local artist Lori Warren is a native Charlottean with over 35 years of metalwork and stone setting experience. With two degrees, a concentration at Penland School of Craft and an apprenticeship under her belt, she has spent the better part of the past four decades using her creative and commercial skills to evolve as an artist.
How: Warren combines traditional and non-traditional materials and techniques in her work. “I’m always looking for alternatives to the establishment of fine jewelry,” she said, which is why she combines conventional metals like gold and silver with surprising ones, like steel. Warren explained that pairing a metal not typically used in commercial jewelry with a precious metal changes how we evaluate the material. “The steel takes on a new identity,” she said. “It has a new purpose.” Aside from typical techniques like sawing, filing and soldering, Warren also uses the less traditional technique of cold connections, or using rivets to connect the metals.
Why metal? Warren didn’t start her artistic journey as a metal smith. She worked with beading and macramé as well as experimented with photography before falling in love with metal. Warren loves the material, of course – her admiration is apparent in her description of gold as “noble” – but she also loves the labor-intensive process of metalwork. “It’s hands-on,” she said. “It’s that control over the materials, it’s bringing something new into the world that didn’t exist before. It’s pretty exciting.”
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Favorite piece: It doesn’t exist yet. It’s the piece that’s in Warren’s head, the piece her hands are itching to make – the next piece. “There’s never a best one, and you never create a perfect one,” she said, “that’s why there’s always a next one.” Warren’s favorite work is always in front of her because of the challenge it presents: “You get new ideas you have to solve. It’s a mystery to be unveiled, and I think that’s something that pushes me on.”
Find it: LoriWarren.com.
Find more CLT Made goods by searching the Observer website for that title, or on the “CLT Made” Pinterest page.