Light & Breezy - Page 2

Marin artist Kristen 'Bucko' Sinn's upbeat persona and playful spirit flow through her MCM-inspired jewelry
  Light & Breezy
The family home is this A-frame in the Marin town of Fairfax.

One of Kristen's mentors is Mike Chaille of Novato, whom she calls an "old-timey jewelry guy—a great, smart, funny, guy." Chaille was her teacher at the College of Marin, and helped found the Marin Jewelers Guild two decades ago. Kristen was also a founding member.

As a studio jeweler, Chaille says, "You almost have to make your own roadway into the field, into the galleries or into shows. It's definitely not the normal kind of wearable jewelry, or fine jewelry."

Curtis Arima, co-chair of the jewelry and metal arts program at the California College of the Arts, doesn't know Kristen, but appreciates her work. "It's fun, really fun work," he says. "It's got great, great colors."

"I would put Kristen's work within this Studio Jewelry Movement," Arima says. "It's not using a lot of gold or precious materials, but it is using hand-fabricated techniques. She is in her own personal studio, and I see her work also as motivated by personal interest."

  Light & Breezy
Boomerang Earrings (silver, enamel).

The joyfulness of Kristen's work is a reflection of the artist behind it, says Julie Lindberg. "She's happy. She has a nice life. She likes her life. She likes her work. And she's just an easygoing kind of person. And I think her work shows that she's lighthearted, you know. You don't make that kind of work if you're not."

To put Kristen's work into historical context, Arima mentions San Francisco jeweler Margaret De Patta (1903-1964), who was part of the city's Metal Arts Guild.

"The San Francisco Metal Arts Guild was a huge influence because they really wanted to follow the path of connecting the jewelry metal arts community to the fine arts, and less into production, and less concerned about, you know, making multiples to sell in a store," Arima says. "They were more interested in focusing on things that were more aligned with the art movements, similar to what was happening in ceramics and glass."

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Turquoise Retro-shapes Earrings.

For her roadway into the field, Kristen has chosen a medium that allows her to indulge in her love for bright color—enameling. It's an ancient technique that fuses glass and metal, using powdered glass, and a kiln, in which future wearable art pieces are arrayed for firing like cookies on a tin.

Kristen, who has been working in jewelry since the mid-1990s, has focused largely on enameling for about the past ten years, although she continues to use other techniques as well.

Since getting a kiln five years ago, she says, "I've really kind of hit my stride. Once I got my own kiln and I could do enameling here, I didn't have to go to the College of Marin and elbow people out of the way to use the kiln. That's when I could really get real and began making stuff I really liked."

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Boomerang Earrings (enamel).

"It all came together then," Kristen says. "All the elements came together." She enamels on copper, and is known for enameling both sides of a piece.

"She uses the front and back [of her jewelry for enameling], so it's reversible," jeweler Merry Morrison, another Jewelers Guild member, says of Kristen's work. "That is not common. And the color is different on each side, so you can wear it with different outfits."