For more than fifteen years, I have been exploring a process of using eco-resin to create a composite material made of layered recycled paper, now called “Thurmanite®.” I find both the conceptual as well as the aesthetic aspects of this material compelling, particularly as a material for jewelry and tableware. Throughout human history, we have adorned ourselves with materials found in our surroundings and I am interested in continuing that tradition. In pieces with Thurmanite® made from solid colored papers, the material seems to be a lightweight and colorful stone of unknown origins, inviting further exploration. In pieces with Thurmanite® made from maps, the physical layers of the maps represent the conceptual layering of our life experiences through our daily travels. It is my goal that my jewelry and tableware is beautiful, functional, and thought-provoking.
Even before my work began with Thurmanite®, I was drawn to creating rotational and radial forms in my studio work, eventually leading to my Certification as a machinist. I’ve continued the utilize lathework in my studio, creating either entirely latheturned finished vessels and plates, or smaller components that are incorporated into my wearable jewelry.
Most recently, I have been creating jewelry that showcases jewels made of Thurmanite® in a series called “Layered Energy.” Smoothly formed sterling silver within geometric frames cradle the jewels, which are highlighted by a variety of set stones and fused gold linear elements. The metal components are united with the Thurmanite® through a variety of cold connections, which I find to be an ongoing creative problem-solving challenge. This body of work is significant due to its innovative experimentation and combination of unique materials and processes. Each piece becomes a wearable distillation of playful problem-solving, encouraging and inspiring others to open themselves to the joys of passionate creativity.
James Thurman is an Associate Professor at the University of North Texas’ College of Visual Arts & Design, where he coordinates the 3D Core program as well as teaches in the Metalsmithing & Jewelry area. He received his MFA in Metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and his BFA in Sculpture from Carnegie Mellon University. In 2010, he completed a four-year term on the Board of Directors of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and is now currently serving as Editor of Technical Articles for the organization. In 2012, he was a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, working with Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey, on curricular development.
A prolific and highly active studio artist for more than fifteen years, his work has been included in hundreds of national and international curated and juried exhibitions as well as ten solo exhibitions in the past ten years. In addition to the exhibition of his work, James regularly lectures and gives workshops about his work and the unique technical aspects of his studio production, including a laminated composite material he developed, “Thurmanite.” Recent engagements have included The Glass Furnace (Istanbul, Turkey), Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Glassell School, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Yuma Symposium.
During his recent Faculty Development Leave, he served as a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, working with The Glass Furnace in Istanbul, Turkey on developing interdisciplinary workshops and products combining glassblowing and metalworking processes.
Where to Buy
Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.