Jill Baker Gower
"The shapes and forms of my pieces come from disparate inspirations including the female form, faceted gems, and historic jewelry and metalwork. These influences are then combined with contemporary ideas on glamour, femininity, beauty, and the body. The surfaces of my work are often ornate, etched with lace patterns, and at times are paired with actual crocheted elements. Materials such as silver, gold, jewels, pearls, and lace have not only been deemed glamorous for centuries, but throughout time have indicated social status and rank. I combine these precious materials, decorative inspirations, and contemporary influences to create thoughtful, aesthetically beautiful, and well-crafted one-of-a kind works."
Meet the Artist
Jill Baker Gower
Born/Raised: Born in Winfield, IL, raised in Carol Stream, IL a suburb of Chicago
Current Location: Sewell, NJ, just outside of Philadelphia where I teach full time at Rowan University.
Education Major: BS Art Education - UW - Madison, Madison, WI, MFA Metals - Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
And she answered a few questions for us to get to know her a little better...
How did you come to jewelry:
From a young age I have loved to make jewelry and objects. I have always been good with my hands and at making small and intricate things. As a little girl it began with friendship bracelets but quickly escalated to advanced seed bead work. I would spend hours in my room creating jewelry and objects; I had an enormous patience when it came to making. Once I took metals with Fred Fenster at UW - Madison in undergraduate school I was hooked! I knew that this was something that I loved and I just wanted to learn more! I went on to study metals in graduate school at Arizona State University and studied with David Pimentel, Becky McDonah and Masumi Kataoka.
Where do you gather inspiration:
The shapes and forms of my pieces come from disparate inspirations including the female body, faceted gems, and historic jewelry and metalwork. I love patterns found in lace, crochet, decorative ironwork, and wallpaper.
Does creativity run in your family? Is it supported?:
There are many creative people in my family. My parents are not artists but both of them are hobbyists. My mom likes to cross stitch and I think I get my ability to follow sequential steps and intricate patterns from her. My dad is a woodworker, computer guy, and is always able to repair anything; I think I’ve gained the skills of working with my hands and problem solving from him. My parents were always very supportive of my interests in art and craft as a child. I don’t think they or I knew that it would lead to my career. It was just something I was always doing.
What do you do for fun:
I love cycling! When I can get outside I go! I also spend most of my time with my family. I have a 1 year old and a 4 year old, they keep me very busy. If I have any time left I enjoy crocheting. I also enjoy a good coffee, dark chocolate, and a good beer.
Jobs before you got into jewelry:
Lifeguard, swim instructor, waitress, Cutco knife salesperson, kids summer camp counselor, pottery instructor.
Do you do other types of art, besides jewelry:
I also make metal sculpture that is similar aesthetically and in concept to my jewelry.
Favorite trip you have taken:
My favorite trip was with my husband after we got married. We traveled to the Canary Islands, Florence, Venice, Madrid, Barcelona, and London. It was amazing and inspiring. I hope to travel abroad again some day.