So excited to introduce this months’s Featured Artist. I’ve known Nan Marshall through a mutual friend. We took a Master class for artist together. She makes these wonderful jewelry designs to die for. She’s very talented and humble. Let’s get to know more about Nan and her passions.
I am a jewelry artist. I currently live in Viroqua, WI, which is a small, rural town of 4,500 people. It’s located in an area of the Midwest that didn’t get flattened by glaciers so they didn’t drop any drift when they receded. Hence the name Driftless Region. It means that the area is full of hills and valley that hide small dairy and corn/soy farms. I live in a bright, red house on top of a ridge with a beautiful view down the valley. I have a husband and a daughter who is 16.
I work part-time for an environmental nonprofit that protects the local watersheds and make one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces for sale in local galleries and at art fairs.
I was born in California, but when I was 8-years-old my family emigrated to Quito, Ecuador. We lived there for 6 years before moving to the D.C. area.
I never thought I was artistic at all. I was going to be a scientist. However, my interest in Japan turned into my taking a class in ikebana – Japanese flower arranging. I really enjoyed it. Soon I started making clip earrings for myself (I don’t have pierced ears). People started asking me if I’d make some for them. Before I knew it, I was selling them at art fairs. This only lasted a few years, and I returned to my scientific pursuits in the environmental field.
I’ve always loved being around artistic people. I find them open and joyful. After hovering at the fringes of the artistic world for years, I joined a friend in taking a metalwork jewelry class. I loved it! Once I started making things, I was invited to join the local artist cooperative gallery. I’ve enjoyed creating ever since.
I recently spent a week in Mexico with the teacher who taught my first metalwork class – Susan Lenart. In Mexico we learned a technique for decorating the surface of our metalwork. I’ve been experimenting with this technique recently.
I love odd materials, bright colors, and interesting textures. I collect odd bits and pieces wherever I go – from the street, from the trash, and I try to find unusual objects at bead shows. I also use recycled tins and buy old jewelry at Goodwill and garage sales. I take these apart and repurpose them.
I usually start laying out a couple of bits that interest me and then poke through my treasures until I find something that seems to go together with them.
I sell my work in three local galleries. I also sell it on my website – www.nanmarshalldesigns.com, I have a Facebook shop on my Facebook page – Nan Marshall Designs, and I sell items on Instagram if people message me – also Nan Marshall Designs.
I would say this started as a hobby for me, and I certainly don’t do it full-time, but I aspire to spend more and more time focusing on my jewelry business. I get a lot of pleasure creating in my studio. The best part is watching people’s faces light up when they find the perfect piece!
I feel that art is communication. It has its own language. When creating a piece the artist imbues the piece with meaning. The wearer hears a message when they find the piece. It speaks for them to the world. Everything we wear is a message, but art speaks more loudly than our everyday clothing.
I don’t know that I have one of these. I think the one I wished I’d paid more attention to was my mother advising me to remember my posture. Good posture communicates confidence, which is always useful. It’s also desired as we age!
I find all people intriguing. Each person is the sum of all their life experiences, which are all different from mine. I love to hear people’s stories, learn their languages, and experience their various environments. My artwork is inspired by all the fascinating bits and pieces I pick up along the way both physically and visually. I’m always taking pictures or making mental notes of the shape of a roof tile, the design on a manhole cover, the shape of a garden layout, a person’s face under their hat. All of them are unique and excite me, and hints of them all are represented in my work.
Be open. There is always something new to learn.
Here are some beautiful pieces made by Nan.
Hope you were as entertained as I was getting to know Nan Marshall. Keep in touch. Subscribe below to my newsletter to get the latest news and specials happening at Jennifer Sher Art.
Love + Light
Jenn Sher ⚛️🌀💟