JP Open Studios Preview

May 25, 2007
By

Jean Mineo


Courtesy Photo
JP artist Shaun Provencher created this sterling silver sanctuary ring.

Shaun Provencher: Jewelry Designer

How does someone with wanderlust reconcile his love of nature and love of metalsmithing? For Shaun Provencher working at the Department of Conservation and Recreation during the day is balanced with creating bold handcrafted silver and copper jewelry for men and women in his home studio at night.

Provencher graduated with a degree in cultural geography from Clark University before pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent four months driving across the country and worked at a Park Service site in New Mexico for a year. He then landed at the National Parks Service in California for six years where he spent about one week a month on field assignments in the western region, including Hawaii. Citing the need for a break, Provencher then traveled in Mexico for six months until his savings dried up.

Provencher received very little arts training while growing up. “I studied art history at the end of college and spent a year working at the Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street,” he said. After that, his training got more serious while attending classes at the Crucible in Oakland, CA. “They cover a range of techniques from forging to blacksmithing to jewelry,” he said. “I got into jewelry almost as a fluke. I went to an open house intending to sign up for the welding class, but it was full. The next table over was for jewelry so I tried it.”

Provencher really liked the teacher, so he spent the next one-and-one-half years in a “glorified apprenticeship.” He learned how to set up a studio and repeated the process when he moved to Jamaica Plain.

Over the past four years Provencher’s work has evolved. “I’ve figured out my own style which involves geometric shapes as frames and incorporates natural forms inside,” he said. “These may be either natural materials like mica or natural shapes from melting silver wire.” His passions merge and reveal themselves in the intricate details.

Last year’s JP Open Studios was one of Provencher’s first public presentations of his work. He remembers, “Open Studios was great for the pressure of creating work. After setting up, it was terrifying for the first hour, not knowing what people would say.” Provencher received very positive feedback from fellow artists who either bought or traded pieces, as well as from the general public. He’ll participate again this fall, or you can visit his website at www.shaunprovencher.com to see his work.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is an annual free weekend-long celebration of the arts where over 200 artists display and sell their original work. This year, Open Studios occurs Sept. 29-30. Visit www.jpopenstudios.com or call 943-7819 for more information about the event, participating artists, and volunteer opportunities.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events.

The writer is coordinator of Jamaica Plain Open Studios.

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