I try to embrace the simple and natural beauty around me. Bringing my attention to nature reminds me to celebrate the temporal and ever changing parts of ourselves and each other. Let’s be curious together.
Gwen Oulman Brennan in her studio

GWEN OULMAN-BRENNAN

Gwen, her husband and their young son live in Amherst, Massachusetts. They moved to the pioneer valley from Portland, Oregon to be closer to family.

Gwen is trained as a painter then turned metalsmith. With a young son running around, her studio work has shifted again.. She is currently embracing the wonder that her son is enthusiastically exploring. As she watches her son’s eyes light up she is creating wooden objects and puzzles for him to learn from. He is an expert prototype puzzle tester.

 

PROCESS

Gwen’s work has a delicate strength that is seen in her thoughtful forms and material choices. She has a keen sensitivity to the beauty of subtlety and simplicity. Her jewelry balances a sense of both humility and elegance with her use of modest pebbles, rustic gemstones, and precious metals that embraces them.    

For Gwen the creative process is about seeking connection, awareness and beauty. Devoting time to be present in nature, in silence and in community are important parts of her practice.  As she says, “my mind quiets while walking along a beach or in the woods, or while riding through the quiet streets at night on my bicycle.” Her pockets are often full when she returns home.  Pebbles, stones, leaves, pieces of rust, weathered remnants and broken bicycle reflectors discarded on the street are just a few of the treasures that she collects. Many of these objects find their way to her studio.  Boxes and drawers full of these collected objects fill her studio until they gradually make their way into her work.  It is often during her time spent in nature that ideas and concepts are sparked. A daily studio practice allows her to explore those sparks deeply through her hands. The materials she uses become a part of her vocabulary as an artist.

Her making process is about balancing form, beauty and concept anchoring her in something larger than just creating another object. She describes this process as an exploration of concepts visually, intellectually, intuitively, spiritually, and physically: her mind oscillating around an idea.  At times a multitude of diverse thoughts will overlay and converge and at other times her mind quiets and enters a meditative like process.  This contrast and duality is an essential part of how she sees the world.

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