The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents the exhibition, “Moon Over Umpqua,” from October 4 to November 30 in the Coastal Oregon Visual Artists Showcase (COVAS) at the Newport Visual Arts Center. The exhibit will include sterling silver, 14-Karat gold fill and metal clay jewelry works by Kathy Moon of Reedsport. The COVAS Showcase features mid-career coastal artists rotating through Oregon’s seven coastal counties, with Moon representing Coastal Douglas County. A First Friday public reception will be held on October 4, 5-7pm, with the artist talking about her work at 6:30pm.
Kathy Moon’s interest in jewelry making started during high school, when she took classes in lost-wax casting, making rings and pendants out of silver and casting wax. After raising a family and establishing a career in health care, Moon returned to her creative interest and hasn’t stopping making wearable art objects evert since. “As a health care provider by day, I have found working with stone to be soothing and calming, a great way to end my day and to ‘heal thyself’,” Moon says. “Of course, my ‘therapy’ has a side effect: lots of jewelry to find a home for.”
A review of Moon’s work brings forth a sense of simple elegance in the stone pendants, neck chains and malas that she creates and skillfully frames in silver and gold wire wraps. She and her husband, who helps with the rock shaping and refining, are avid rockhounds and find many of their source material fishing along the Umpqua River near Reedsport, and in Mexico. Her choice of materials includes ammomites (fossilized mollusks), banded jasper, drusy (quartz), septarian nodules (concreted mud filled with calcite), turquoise, ammolite and coral. She wraps the “cabochons” in a way so as to highlight not overwhelm the stone. “My journey back to jewelry making started with a brief lesson in wire wrapping at a local rock show,” Moon says. “By the next year, and for the next 11 years, I demonstrated wire wrapping at the same rock show, freely giving of my talent and love of gems and jewelry.”
Kathy Moon’s jewelry making then moved into the realm of silver fabrication and then onto “silver art clay,” which is made from reclaimed photography and X-rays combined with an organic binder. The metal clay takes an impression with a flourish and can be shaped, molded, cut or stamped like regular clay. Once fabricated, a piece is dried and refined in its greenware state. When fired in a kiln, the organic components burn out, leaving .999 percent fine silver. The artist might then imbed stones or sets after firing. Wherever she travels, Moon has an eye out for the texture of elements that she can capture and set in the metal clay—ferns, flowers, barks and twigs all inspire her to create from and emulate nature.
Kathy Moon works as a full-time nurse practitioner in urology in the Reedsport area. She has also served as an advocate for increased mental health services for rural areas before the Oregon state legislature. Perhaps those services could include more “art therapy.”
Moon’s jewelry works can be found at the Mindpower Gallery in Reedsport, on her website (moonkissedcreations.com) and at art fairs throughout the region. She is an active member of the Alliance for Metal Clay Art Worldwide.
The COVAS Showcase is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.