A metalsmith and her wall hangings
Arizona Artist Series: Melanie Channon Q&A
Melanie Channon is a scientist who makes beautiful wall hangings that will leave you breathless.
One of her pieces, Octopus is currently being featured at Arizona's Herbergur Theatre's Face Off Exhibit with some other amazing artists until January.
You can see more of her work on her instagram.
How did you get into metalsmithing?
I took a class at Harold Studio in February 2013 and immediately fell in love with manipulating metal.
What inspires you?
Metalwork made for religious purposes and/or royalty in the middle ages. Pieces like reliquaries and crowns that were obviously time consuming and painstaking to make. I really admire the dedication it took to make them. I strive to reflect that kind of dedication in my pieces, even though they are not for religion or royalty.
What is your design process?
I try to think of things that I personally like (skulls, animals, characters) that would accommodate a lot of metal techniques (gems, rivets, etc.) and interesting details (textures and patterns). But really some of what I consider to be my most creative design ideas have come from the logistics of trying to put the piece together. For example, some of the designs that I do with rivets were partly out of necessity to attach the different components together.
However, I also purposefully try to use different techniques for each piece, both to challenge myself, and to distinguish the style of the pieces from each other. So, sometimes the image or character that I come up with is from what I think would be a cool image that is suited to whatever new or different technique I want to use.
What is your favorite tool?
I think this changes around a little depending on what I'm working on. But, because I do so many rivets I really love my flush cutters. I paid a little more for a decent pair, and I'm really happy I did. https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Italian-Flush-Cutters-TR5000R/111105 I also love all of my stamping/chasing/repousse tools. Some of which I've made myself and some that I've purchased. I probably like the ones I've purchased a little more, just because I'm not that good at making them yet, lol. I also could not live without my miter cutting jig; I can't even cut a bezel straight without it. https://www.riogrande.com/Product/Economy-Miter-Cutting-Vise-and-Jig/112700
What is on your bench right now?
Coincidentally, both my flush cutters and my miter cutting jig, along with various sizes of drills, a center punch, a small ball peen hammer, a large half round file, safety goggles, metal scraps, and my medusa piece (but I'm actually not working on Medusa at the moment; I'm working on signature tags for my skull and owl pieces). Plus, all the other stuff that normally lives on my bench: all my other hammers, other files, stamping/chasing/repousse tools, pliers, saw, flex shaft accessories, bench block, wood block for drilling, etc.