lostgirl Metalworks, Spring Market Featured Artisan, Creates Unique, Edgy, A Bit Left-of-Center Ador
Not for those seeking dainty pieces, Robbi Farschman of lostgirl Metalworks, creates bold, hand-crafted jewelry in sterling and copper.
While working as a community organizer in Baltimore in the late 1990s, I started making jewelry as a hobbyist. Then, it was bead work, including those I made with polymer clay, and the focus was on design – which leaned solidly towards the asymmetrical and quirky. I gave everything as a gift, and when folks told me, “You should sell,” I would laugh and respond with a hearty “No!”
My work later took me to New Hampshire, where I continued designing (and giving away) jewelry in my spare time. The reception was similar to that in Baltimore, though “You should sell!” was met with a more tentative “Nooo….” When I relocated to Syracuse, NY in 2008 and heard the same encouragement, I said “Damn right!” (I can be a bit slow on the uptake at times…)
My first metalwork course was a two-week one called “Rings and Things.” I babbled about it for months beforehand – some might have said ad nauseam – and couldn’t wait for the first day. After seven hours in the studio, I came home defeated and answered the expectant question of “Did you love it?!” with “Not really…”
Sawing metal was a pain, and I broke blades quicker than you could blink. (Later, I learned that having the right blade for the gauge of metal you’re cutting makes a world of difference!) I also rather sucked at soldering, with the little pieces jumping off the metal whenever the torch flame would get anywhere close. I considered ditching the whole affair after the first day. But I’m pretty determined by nature, so I went back. The second day was a little better, and by the end of the third, I was hooked and began dreaming about my “next life” in metal.
In February 2012, with only two metalsmithing courses under my belt, a basic skill-set (to say the least!), and just two pairs of pliers in my toolbox, I decided my next life started then and I made the leap to be a full-time artist. Shortly thereafter, lostgirl Metalworks – a nod to my tendency to wander, shun roots and find inspiration on the unknown path – was launched.
Like the way I live my life, my work tends to be experimental in nature, with middle-of-the-night visions constructed (sometimes awkwardly) in metal the next day. I work primarily in sterling, though copper and bits of gold find their way into my work, and drool-worthy stones are the norm. Much of my current line contains bold pieces that celebrate both structure and the beauty of decay. (I think of them as modern heirlooms.)
Life-by-hand, as I call it, isn’t always an easy journey. Some days are smooth sailing and others are complete melt-downs (literally, if I keep my torch on something for two seconds too long). On the smooth days, I leave the studio invigorated and excited to return. On the others, I remind myself that I am a maker, not a machine, and nothing that I do will ever be perfect (though that doesn’t stop me from trying!). Whichever the day, I have no doubt that I’m fortunate to have the freedom to create whatever crazy comes to mind and continue to find my voice.
Visit and shop with Robbi Farshman and lostgirl Metalworks at Firefly Handmade Spring Market, May 20-21, 10am-4pm, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district, Boulder, CO!