BAAA Featured Artist of the Month: Veneita Stender

Fascination with remnants of our material culture led me to explore the venue of found-object jewelry. What is the power of these cast-offs to capture my imagination even more than the silver and semi- precious stones of my usual work as a jewelry artist? How do these shards of metal, rust, glass, or pottery, that have endured time and elements of nature to attain a special patina and aura of mystery, convey a message about their past? How does a shard of pottery found at the site of a deserted homestead in the desert elicit a whispered story about the brave pioneers who discarded it? Why does finding a fragment of sea glass in the sand quicken ones step to claim it and add joy to a walk on the beach?

My goal as a jewelry artist is to pair the found-object with textured metal using the principles of design to capture qualities of the “unseen” to create a piece of wearable jewelry with special meaning for both the wearer and the viewer. If successful, the meaning of the piece will cross time, connect the wearer and the viewer, and convey some essence of the found-objects' story.


After retirement from a career in teaching clothing, textiles, and related arts, at Southwestern Oregon Community College I studied watercolor, silk painting, batik, and other art and design interests. This led to a line of hand painted textiles which I marketed at summer art fairs. My development as a metal/jewelry artist began fifteen years ago with intensive workshops in metals, stone setting, jewelry design, fabrication, and related processes, with nationally noted instructors in the metal/jewelry arts field at the following locations:

Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA
Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, OR
Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Otis, OR
University of Oregon Craft Center, Eugene, OR
Santa Barbara Community College, Santa Barbara, CA

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