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tell me more... Holly Bobisuthi, metalsmith + magic maker

March 13, 2017

psk: what attracted you to the notion of adornment?

Holly Bobisuthi: There is something powerful about art that is physically interacted with on a daily basis. Adornment is so intimate, over time it can become an extension of the wearer's sense of self. By creating work that functions as psychic armor, a protective layer of beauty between the viewer and the wearer, I hope to give people the space to see that self as strong and beautiful. 

psk: your work contains natural and mythical symbols, what is it about the symbols that is so inspirational to you?

hb: the places where humans agree are fascinating to me. So many of the symbols I use can be found in multiple cultures separated by vast amounts of time and space. I'm constantly exploring this idea of symbolic language and archetype as a way to understand the images that hold personal power for me. By looking at these ancient symbols through the lens of my own experience I invest them with another layer of significance and reinterpret them for a contemporary audience. This also allows me to create a new, personal symbolic language with a great depth of meaning. 

psk: you make everything 'by hand with intention'. does the process of actually making the work get in the way of your creativity?

hb: almost never. The hand work involved gives my very active mind a chance to zone out and focus in. I find the technical restrictions freeing and hand making things allows me to change direction quickly if a project isn't working. Besides which hammering is very meditative. 

psk: over time, there have been a few pieces which get made again and again. what about those pieces brings you back to craft them over and over? is there a point in which you decide its time to stop reproducing?

hb: i only make a piece as long as I enjoy the making. For some designs this means only once, for other 20 or so.The items I produce many of, hairpins etc, are designed to be enjoyable to make. Because my work is hand fabricated each piece is unique in its own way. It's important that my art practice be sustainable and part of that is staying emotionally and intellectually engaged. 

psk: what would be your dream project/collaboration? what would it be/ with whom would it be? 

hb: this is the hardest question! Of course I'd love to do an installation of the more sculptural work. Large scale, ritual/transformational adornment is a great passion of mine and I have loved working with performers, photographers and filmmakers to create an imagined, mythic world. I'm always looking to do more of that. 

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all images are courtesy of holly bobisuthi 

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