Mary Lee Hu: The Wire Jewelry Master
In my last newsletter, I mentioned Mary Lee Hu's new book, Knotted, Knitted, Twisted and Twined, which is now available on Amazon books. Mary Lee is also written about in the last two issues of Ornament magazine. The first issue features her work on the front cover and the second (most recent) includes her in an article about designers, well worth the read.
Finally, I immediately spotted her work on the cover of Lapidary Journal, Jewelry Artist in the most recent September/October issue in an article about designers who push the envelope.
Well, Mary Lu is certainly getting a whole lot of attention lately. If you're not familiar with her work, know that all this attention is very well deserved. While a metalsmith, Hu has focused her career on forging new ground in wire jewelry making. Also, while she will occasionally incorporate her metalsmithing techniques into her wire work, the elaborate pieces she builds more frequently are made wholly with wire.
In the earlier days of her career, Hu focused on a great deal of experimental work with wire jewelry. Her experiments often led to very complex jewelry accomplished with very simple techniques. The wire flows in her hands like none other that I've seen. She is a wizard with a very rare view and design perspective. Her work is completely gorgeous and stunning. She does what no one else has and her originality and "less is more" design sense makes her a mentor to follow.
I had the great good fortune of taking a three day workshop with her many years ago at the beginning of my career and haven't stopped since. Her ability to inspire is exceptional. Before I'd taken that workshop, I was floundering with metalsmithing, feeling like I couldn't do anything unique or original since it had all been done. Not so! She inspired me to work on my own, to come up with my own unique and original ideas, to push the wire and make it do all manner of new and interesting things.
As a result, I spent many, many years experimenting to try and make the wire perform in new ways and that has become a life long passion for me.
All of this is to say that if you aren't familiar with the wire work of Mary Lee Hu, do yourself a big favor and seek her out......even purchase her first book or one or both of the Ornament magazines. If you love and appreciate wire jewelry making, I think you'll discover a major inspiration at the very least.