Known for her fresh and often bold designs, Texas metalsmith artist Helen Dorion believes jewelry is art and your body is the gallery.
Artist: Originally from the North West of England, Dorion received her undergraduate degree in Fashion and Textile Design from the Sir John Moores University in Liverpool in 1987.
After meeting and eventually marrying her American husband, she moved to the United States and settled in El Paso.
Dorion earned an MA in jewelry and metalsmithing with a minor in printmaking from the University of Texas at El Paso. She also taught there in the art department as an adjunct instructor for quite a few years.
Company/studio: Helen Dorion Jewelery is based in El Paso, TX. She turned half of her garage into a comfortable, functional workspace, where her three little dogs hang out with her.
In the beginning: Encouraged to be creative in all kinds of ways by her parents and her paternal grandparents, Dorian learned how to knit and sew by age seven.
In high school, she was exposed to ceramics, textiles, woodworking, metals, painting and printmaking – and had very supportive teachers.
Art & materials: One-of-a kind, handcrafted jewelry with various materials, including fiber, beads, sequins, thread, recycled water bottle tops, enamel and paint.
“The main focus of my work is to convey the enthusiasm, energy and emotion for what I see and encounter within the natural environment combined with the natural desire to make things,” said Dorion, who is always experimenting with new materials.
What’s popular: Colorful, sculptural earrings ($60 to $380) and necklaces ($175 and up).
- Drill press, which she uses for almost all her projects.
- A block of steel that a fellow student gave her in graduate school. She uses it as a surface for hammering textures into her metal pieces
- The desert landscape with its variety of plants and rocks and their colors, textures and surfaces.
- Artists, including Terry Winters and Huntderwasser.
Fun, special or unusual commissions: Design and make copper door handles for an entertainment cabinet: Not just small door knobs, but pieces that were six inches by three inches and eight inches by three inches.
Figuring out how they were to be attached to the wooden cabinet was challenging both structurally and technically. But she did it.
- Las Artistas Art & Fine Crafts Show, El Paso. Nov. 18-19. The annual craft show recently celebrated its 50th
- Earrings Galore Pop Up Exhibit during New York City Jewelry Week. Nov.14-18, in the gallery space of Delaware-based Heidi Lowe Gallery. Earrings Galore is an annual exhibition of earrings made by emerging and established studio jewelers.
- Instagram: @helendorionjewelery
- Facebook: Helen Dorion Jewelery