Prior to making jewelry, Susan Strauss was a social worker and a business owner. She earned a BA in philosophy at Newcomb College and an MSW from Tulane University. While she was a social worker, she also took clay classes in New Orleans, in Boulder, and when she returned to Little Rock in 1994.
In 1997, after working for a few years as a social worker in Little Rock, she quite suddenly opened River Market ArtSpace, promoting the work of almost 100 mostly local artists. The gallery was successful, and she sold it in 2002. At that time, she began making jewelry (mostly beading) and started taking some classes. She is self-taught in metal clay.
It is a thrill to start with raw materials and create something totally new. For years, I made pottery, so precious metal clay was an obvious choice for me. The creative process puts me in my happy place and makes my brain hum. Most of my work is fine silver, sterling silver, or gold-filled. I use fine silver and gold-filled sheet, cut or saw, and then hammer the metal. I often add gemstones and texture, and I sometimes oxidize it, too.
The metal clay can be fine silver or bronze. I keep it pretty simple and organic. The process of working with a material that is like clay, dries, and is fired to become metal is exciting every time. I hope that this piece becomes one of your favorites.