Dante Perozzi Wearable Sculpture Debuts at Firefly Handmade Summer Market
Dante Perozzi, sculptor turned metalsmith, joins our Summer Market, August 24 and 25 on Historic South Gaylord Street in Washington Park, Denver. We are very excited to welcome her into our family of artisans! Dante’s urban-inspired jewelry collection focuses on lines, angles and simple shapes often derived from the power, strength and repetitiveness of brick and brick patterns found in buildings and urban environments. Dante shares how she made her journey from a childhood in Zimbabwe to studying art and sculpture in the US to metalsmithing and jewelry design:
How did you begin your handmade journey?
I come from a family of artists, so I’ve always been making things. Between my two hands I have 7 fingers, which forced me to creatively figure out my own ways of doing things. Creativity is where I shined, and I always knew that I would pursue something artistic. I was born in Zimbabwe but grew up in the States. While studying sculpture at Cal State Long Beach, I fell in love with foundry and metal arts. I was instantly smitten and found that making jewelry felt like an outlet for me, a kind of liberation from the heady conceptual art world of sculpture. Jewelry is more light-hearted and easier to transport than brick, concrete, and resin sculptures. This is how my jewelry practice was born, and it didn’t take long for me to create the foundation pieces for Dante Perozzi Jewelry.
What inspires your work?
My first collections, Brick & CityScape were inspired by many different types of urban environments. I still have lots of family in South Africa. While touring Soweto during a visit, I saw that the people there built their homes out of old billboards, fences, tires, whatever they could make good use of. The creativity required to do what they had done—essentially making something out of nothing—really got me thinking about the idea of home and inhabited spaces. Living in Los Angeles surrounded by so many different types of architecture also reinforced my interest in construction and buildings. My jewelry designs all stem from this fascination.
Today, each new design of mine builds upon the last. I often find small elements of previous designs that inspire me on their own, so I pull them forward and develop them into new ideas. In this way, I am able to create cohesive collections and help me feel connected to my artistic foundations.
Sustainability is an important factor in your business. How do you stay mindful of this mission and in which ways?
My aim for my studio is to reduce my impact on the environment wherever possible. All metal scraps and prototypes are kept and sorted for recycling. Brass castings are made with recycled copper. Silver and gold castings are made with recycled metal whenever possible. I re-use all packaging materials that come my way. I hate plastic with a passion and am always looking for ways to avoid its use & make donations to support organizations working to minimize single use plastics.
Could you tell us about any special projects or new products you are working on for the upcoming market?
I am always creating new pieces. I’ve been particularly obsessed with earrings lately and will be bringing some gorgeous new babies to the market—of course necklaces, rings, and cuffs will be there too!
Anything else you'd like to tell us?
I’ve been teaching jewelry-making workshops for the last five years. I started doing it in Los Angeles with the Lost Wax method of jewelry-making. I give small group lessons in my Lakewood studio and have done some open-to-the-public workshops in the Denver area as well. I have found I love teaching others the magic of jewelry-making and helping people make their own special pieces. I also think that hosting jewelry-making workshops is another way to keep sustainability at the core of my practice; by teaching others about the process of making jewelry.