Yellow and mauve, the colors of spring, show up in the pieces of jewelry created by artist Deborah Bobby. So do reds, blues and other shades. The subtle gleam of etched copper permeates through many of her pieces.
She displayed an early flair for artistic pursuits when she spent many hours on various craft projects throughout her childhood. She worked in consumer high technology companies including Apple and Palm, but now has managed to strike a balance between business and her artistic life and is able to devote a considerable amount of time to her art.
When not creating a piece entirely by hand, she still wants to put a bit of herself into each one by making some portion of the design her own. For instance, she makes metal bead caps as decorative elements to complement beads in her pieces, fabricates her own ear wires, clasps and other items by hand from metal. She also does her own etching on copper, bronze and silver sheet metal to produce earrings, bracelets and pendants used in her designs.
This type of etching on metal is a very involved process. She uses a jeweler's saw to form shapes from copper sheet metal. After etching, sanding and applying patina, several coats of wax or other sealants are applied to preserve the finish of the piece. From these sheets of etched metal, she cuts out pieces in a number of shapes, for example, that of a gingko leaf.
When creating entire pieces from scratch, her favorite metal designs are organic pendants and cuffs, made completely by hand using both modern techniques and traditional benchwork such as “fold forming”. That is a technique to create a texture by heating the metal with a torch to anneal (soften) it, folding and hammering the metal, annealing, unfolding and repeating these steps until the desired effect is achieved. The piece is then shaped and finished as the artist sees fit.
She uses a variety of materials in her jewelry-making: semi-precious stones, lampwork beads, enamelled work, leather and her own artistically etched metal. Even in pieces made from other artists’ components, she is passionate about using painstaking attention to detail to achieve just the right composition.
"There is something really magical about live events and seeing people interacting with art," Deborah Bobby says. According to her there is nothing more rewarding than seeing people interacting with your art one on one. And visitors to her studio will be able to do exactly that when they drop in to see her work through the Silicon Valley Open Studios during the month of May.