JESSICA deGRUYTER is a self taught artist and metal smith, learning her craft through workshops, books, and experimentation with unusual materials. Her maternal grandparents were teeth-makers by trade and jewelers by hobby; her paternal grandfather was a watchmaker, so perhaps this is her blood, this desire to create. She has always collected the ephemeral, and much of her jewelry features found natural elements, such as withered leaves and seeds, molted bird feathers, and insect wings. It also incorporates raw and uncut stones found on her hikes in the deserts and mountains of her home state of New Mexico—including Luna druzy, Pecos diamond, and Sandia granite. When she is not finding or making, deGruyter stays involved in the vibrant local community of artists in Albuquerque by showing and selling her work at galleries and art/craft markets around the state of New Mexico. Her work was recently included in a Sunset Magazine article, and has been featured in multiple local publications.
“As with all art, my work defies easy description. It is sometimes architectural and reminiscent of specimens in a museum, with ephemera pressed between Plexiglas angles and fettered together by nuts and bolts; but at other times it is raw and elemental, with darkened and textured metal embracing uncut stones. I like to think that my work challenges our notion of what constitutes a gem, and recasts what may be considered precious by inviting us to examine the everyday in an elevated way. Ultimately, I am attempting to preserve the specimens of my travels as strange and lovely heirloom jewelry. The flora, fauna, and mineral are picked from Albuquerque sidewalks and gardens, Rio Grande and Pacific beaches, Sandia mountain deer trails and other lost back roads. The Plexiglas is hand-cut, hand-sanded, and rescued from the scrap pile. It is all held together with elemental metals: solid copper, 925silver, brass, carbon steel. In a word, it is Found.”