Harmony Torres lives and works in Bellwood, PA creating gold jewelry with a distinctly fluid feel. Her one of a kind, watercast rings are frequently created from other pieces which were damaged or scrap and by melting down to recast she is saving a literal precious resource from being dug out of the Earth. Harmony has incorporated green into both her lifestyle and work.
Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
My days may not seem exciting to most people…but a normal day would start at 7 am…I go to the office and get to assist in pulling teeth…I love it…then I come home and go straight to my studio where I get to melt metal…
Who or what influences your work and why?
My influences are nature mostly…nature is all around us…and it is so beautiful and many things are unique…I like having that in my pieces
Is it your personal belief that creativity and the ability to create art is innate?
I believe that most artists do have the innate ability to create….I started drawing and painting when I was very young… there are those that can and those that cannot create certain arts…but I think everyone is born with the ability to do something…
Explain your art- what exactly is it you do? How do you describe it?
Well…I suppose I could be called a silversmith…or a metalsmith…I call it melting metal…that is mostly what I do…and what I love…but I also have to design…and have an eye for color…to finish my pieces and keep them fluid in the design…
When did you first become interested in metalsmithing?
I went to college for animation…and I had to take a crafts course to graduate…luckily I took it early…and it was jewelry fabricating…and I changed my major…I fell in love with metal…and just loved all the things one can do with it…
Where did your first inspiration come from?
My first inspiration came from the 1920’s and 30’s…I collect vintage hats…and the first body of work I did in metal was hats…I may put them in my shop someday…there is something so magical about hats made out of copper and silver…that metal can take on so many personas….
Where do your ideas come from? Can you tell me about your creative process?
My creative process is hard for me to explain…I am not really sure where my ideas come from…they are just diddy’s that came from my head…:)
When did you first discover your talent and artistic ability?
Well when I was 5 I started drawing pictures of all my mom’s friends…but as cartoons…and from there I kept drawing….I always loved nature…so started drawing that…and as I went through high school and college…it stemmed into my jewelry making
Were you influenced by the Green Movement?
I have always tried to live my life to help the environment…I started being a vegetarian when I was 14…I was always trying to make people recycle…and use less water and energy…so I wouldn’t say I was influenced…just glad that others are…
What have you done to incorporate an eco-friendly approach to your jewelry pieces?
In some of my pieces I have reused metal and some pearls and other parts in my necklaces…when I worked at a jewelry store…customers would bring their jewelry to have something else made…they would give me the old rings…so I melt those down to make something else…I always ask people to give me their unwanted jewelry…so I can make new things…instead of buying metal and getting packaging that is not needed…I have used pearls from old necklaces that have broken…I also try to be environmentally friendly in the studio…I use solar energy to work my buffer and foredom…
What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?
I never use plastic bags…I always use my cloth ones…even though some cashiers give me problems…I only drink water…and have a water filter and reuse the same bottle…I have a diva cup…so I have cut my contribution to many pads and tampons being in landfills…I use the solar energy for my computer and some of my jewelry tools…I use bamboo…and try to buy vegetables locally…though this area is hard in that area…I always buy cage free…and soy milk…I reuse my packaging to ship my items…there may be more…but I can’t think of them right now
Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?
There are two jewelry artists that I adore…I guess I am biased because they were my professors…Cappy Counard…and Sue Amendolara…they make amazing pieces…and have some work in the permanent collection in Pittsburgh museums…which I do strive for…
What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?
All of it…if we do not have our land…we don’t have anything…we cannot exist without our earth…so take care of it
What is your favorite project or work you’ve completed thus far?
My favorite piece is one that I have just sold actually…it was a 14k gold watercast ring…and it had a black pearl in it…
What challenges have you had in your work?
Well…since most of my pieces are one of a kind…when customers want something similar…it is hard to put a timeframe on it…because I can never tell if I will get the same design…so there are pros and cons to the nature of my designs
Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?
It is positive I believe….I think it helps get artwork out there in the world…it helps educate people…I wouldn’t have been able to sell as many of my pieces if it weren’t for the internet…
What is your greatest ambition as an artist?
I would love to have at least one piece in the permanent collection of a museum…to show that a young girl…from a small town…and a poor background…is able to become something
What are your long term career goals?
I just would love to work all day on my jewelry…I do not want to be rich and famous…but I would like to be able to make a living off my work…to be able to make at least one custom ring a week…that would be wonderful…
What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?
I am actually working on a whole line of sterling silver and pearl water cast rings…I am doing some shows this fall…
What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?
Don’t listen to what anyone says…unless it is positive. If you have a love for what you do…and you know you can be great…then go ahead with it…if you do what you love…you will be happy
What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?
Well for women…the diva cup is amazing…and will save tons from going to landfills…..in general…solar panels are great…and save money
How would your friends describe you?
They would probably say I am different…but in a good way…I don’t care what others say…I am confident and creative….and I am always there for them…
Do you have a website or online presence where people can view your work?
I have a shop on Etsy…. harmonymetals
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