Melissa Finelli: Manipulating Metal-An Evolving Art Form

by fortheloveofjewels on April 8, 2008

Melissa Finelli in her Boston Studio

Photos by: Peter Harris

Perusing http://www.metalcyberspace/ again, I came across some jewelry that appeared to me to be futuristic, ancient and outer space like…all at once. The pieces seemed almost eerie to me so I just had to find out more about the person behind this unusual and special work. Meet Melissa Finelle of melle finelli jewelry who has a studio in Boston. I asked her about her almost supernatural appearing work:

Sometimes I see my style as nature from another planet, sometimes I see it as architectural. I am process oriented so sometimes it’s the tools that dictate what I make. I do not sketch; my pieces come to life organically as I form each shape. I see the “planetary”, “futuristic”, “ancient” thing going on in my work. I’m not sure where it comes from… maybe it has to do with the spontaneous way in which I work. I think i need to think more on that one.

On your website, you mention that you “feel lucky” to have discovered metalsmithing. Tell us about that.

I discovered metalsmithing while sitting at my dull job in a jewelry store that didn’t get much business. I started examining the jewelry and all the little mechanical parts that made each piece move. I was curious and wanted to know about the process. I ended up looking in the phone book and found a school that offered jewelry making in Boston’s north end. The school is the oldest trade school in the country and has people from all over the world attending (North Bennet Street School). This place intrigued me so I set up an appointment for a tour later that week. Basically I was so fascinated with the school, i decided to apply. I was accepted and started my jewelry training cold turkey. Ten years after I graduated, I went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and studied sculpture. This changed the way I worked on a smaller scale. I feel lucky because I’ve finally found a material that is challenging to me. It always keeps me curious and ready to keep exploring.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I think my inspiration comes from a combination of acquiring new tools and trying new ways to manipulate metal, as well as all the interesting little details I see while I’m walking around town. I always find it so curious to see green growth growing out of a knocked over stop sign planted in the concrete. Now that’s determination! When I’m struggling creatively I take a walk.

How do you balance the business of the work with the creative process?

The balance between making my work (enjoyable), and the business side of things (not so enjoyable) is a hard one for me. Each year I’ve become more organized which is so important. I write everything down that needs to be done and tackle it a little each day. I keep my office separate from my studio. My workspace is my sacred place to experiment and be creative. There is no computer at the studio, and no tools at home. In fact when I want to hang a picture or something at home, I use a rock!

What advice do you have for fledgling jewelry designers?

Advise for jewelers to be… this is not a glamorous career choice. It’s work. It’s not easy to make, promote, and sell your work. It takes time and dedication to the craft. Get your work out there. Never say no to an opportunity to show your work. and don’t let any rejection get you down. Keep at it!

Melissa’s work can be found in more than 30 galleries throughout the country. Visit her website to check them out!

What fun it was to have a virtual visit with Melissa! I think her work is quite spectacular!

Thanks for stopping by!




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