International jeweler speaks at SDSU

by Christine Whitman, Senior Staff Writer

On Sept. 10, the San Diego State Jewelry Students Co-op sponsored a free art talk with unapologetic international jeweler Lisa Walker.

The event, which took place in Student Services West, was one installment in a semester-long lecture series called Artists + Designers in Real Time. The series is meant to showcase and educate SDSU students about different art forms.

“We’re trying to get the word out that these events are open to the public and not just for current students,” art professor David Fobes said.

The event featured a presentation by the New Zealand native, who discussed her early university education and training as well as the different aspects of jewelry making using natural materials she has always known.

Although Walker did receive formal training from multiple institutions in her early years, including Otago Polytechnic Art School in New Zealand, she said that there was a point in her career where she had to unlearn that training in order to truly grow as a jeweler.

“I need to see jewelry that’s amazing; I need to be moved by it,” Walker said. “That doesn’t happen often.”

Walker’s work, which has been displayed consecutively in several galleries around the world, walks a fine line between jewelry and art. Although many of Walker’s pieces are too large to be worn as jewelry and are instead displayed in galleries, Walker says the main goal is for her pieces to be worn.

Walker has constantly obsessed her pieces in the past, which can take anywhere from a couple hours to months to create. She has experienced multiple instances of returning to an already completed piece because of newfound inspiration.

“The finished product has become just as important as what I want to say,” Walker said.

Walker emphasized that contemporary jewelry doesn’t have to follow an exact recipe, and that it’s okay for someone to wear something that may be initially perceived as odd.

“I rarely know what I’m doing, and I hope it stays like that,” Walker said. “Sometimes you have to make it, show it and see what the precautions are.”

During the presentation, Walker read excerpts of information she initially wrote in short stints during her process of crafting specific pieces. Walker writes these excerpts, which she calls “epiphanies,” to display a thought process that only comes with working on a single piece for months at a time.

“New work is objectively influenced by what I’ve done in the past,” Walker said. “I can easily get jealous of myself.”

The audience, a mix of art students and industry professionals, was encouraged to ask questions at the end of the presentation. Walker answered each question in detail, relating the answers to her own unique experiences.

“I’ve proved to everyone that I’m a real jeweler,” Walker said. “That’s enough.”