Q&A with Alicia Goodwin, Museum Store Artist and Owner of Lingua Nigra
The Metal Museum Blog will be spotlighting Museum Store artists, guest demonstrators, makers, and all who are part of the Metal Museum community.
Q: Can you share a little bit about your background, training, and experience as a metalsmith?
A: I’m a jeweler who focuses on work in alloys such as brass and sterling (but mostly brass). I love texture, so I try to make different textures with various techniques using heat and acid.
I’ve taken jewelry making classes as a child, but didn’t revisit it until I enrolled in the metals program at F.I.T. (1). After I graduated, I worked for some amazing makers, including Philip Crangi. I was able to learn more about making and the business side of things after graduation, you know, when things get real!
Q: When did you realize that you wanted to make a living as an artist?
A: I don’t think I really had a choice! When I got jobs working in office spaces at jewelry companies, I was only going to be allowed to go so far. We sometimes think the dream is to design for these companies, to have your work in all these stores, but that wasn’t it for me. I was always creating my work after hours and on the weekends, selling when I could.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I’m inspired by nature. That seems very broad, but you can’t really escape it. My love of beetles is very strong, and I just love the world of insects in general. It’s a humbling experience to be reminded that our human world is just a fragment of life on this planet.
Q: How has the pandemic affected the way that you approach your business?
A: Phew! It all happened so quickly! I went from planning to fly to my next show to getting an email the day before saying the show was cancelled. I am grateful that I am more fortunate than most in that I already have a website, so I doubled down a little bit and really focused on my Instagram presence and my email list. It hasn’t been a major shift; I just go to the post office a lot more. I call it “Club Post Office” (and it’s open till midnight!).
Q: Why do you feel the Metal Museum Store is a good fit for your work?
A: The best of the best are in this shop! I’m so honored to have my work sitting along my faves, it’s so nice. I also love how unpretentious it is, with the “serious” jewelry being displayed the same way the “fun” jewelry is, every piece gets the same amount of love and respect and I’m down for that.
Q: What is your favorite metalsmithing process or material to use and why?
A: Hmmm, funny enough, I really love carving wax, but don’t find the time to dedicate to it. I love acid etching my metal. There are different ways to do it, but I love to just leave the metal in the acid and let it do its thing, so it just looks super random. I love using brass, it’s a difficult material to work with, but I’m so used to it, I don’t even notice until I have to work with silver or gold.
Q: Who are some other artists or jewelers you admire?
A: Jewelers I love: Carin Jones (Jonesing for Jewelry), Octave Jewelry, and all the mask makers and artisans throughout the continent of Africa and also Papua New Guinea. I also deeply admire Harry Bertoia, whose work I would visit weekly when I lived in New York City.
Q: How much time do you spend creating? What does your daily routine look like?
A: Sometimes I spend more time drawing and sketching than I do sitting at the bench! I don’t have a good daily schedule. If I’m not packing orders I’ll take time to solder all day or throughout the week, so I can send things out to my gold plater. When I can clean off my bench, I will work on wax and metal models so I can have new things ready, but it takes a lot of time, as I like to overthink a lot.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you wear every day?
A: Recently I found my gold Mexican filigree hoop earrings my parents got me for maybe my fifth birthday that I wear nonstop along with whatever other earrings I want to wear (my ears are stretched!). I also don’t go anywhere without wearing at least one of my dear cat Bruce’s claws around my neck.
Q: What is most important for you at this point in your career?
A: I need to be comfortable. I don’t work too hard these days, but apparently I still work too much! It’s important that I get to make what I want. Having people appreciate my work enough that I make a living is pretty incredible, so I try to just keep my voice and style genuine and unique.
1. The Fashion Institute of Technology (New York City, NY).