Ursula Guderian's Beautiful Works of Art
By Kimberly Boney
Renaissance WomanMarch 2015
By Kimberly Boney
Photos: Betsy Erickson
Some works of art have a way of transporting us to a particular place in time and space, to a specific location far way, either real or imagined. And some works of art manage to be more of a culmination of many eras and locations simultaneously – a glorious amalgamation of new and old, something other worldly and yet close to home, a familiar “something” that magically beckons the viewer out of the proverbial comfort zone. Th e works of Ursula Guderian, jewelry artist, are the latter.
Born in Mount Shasta, raised in the North State and currently residing in Igo, Guderian was trained at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. As a little girl, she fell in love with mythology, and she incorporates it, along with ancient mysticism, antiquities and historical references into her work. While her pieces are reminiscent of something as old as time itself, they are refreshingly modern in their approach. Guderian fires and hand-hammers brass, bronze and copper into strikingly bold, unique, fearless and undeniably one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable sculpture.
At the helm of Guderian’s creations is her belief that jewelry is wearable art, and that it is an extension of one’s soul. “Art has always been a healing entity to me, and I put forth that energy into my work,” she says.
Fascinated by science and history, Guderian has found herself drawn to a quote from Carl Sagan: “Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors.” Guderian seconds that notion: “To me, the wisdom of our ancestors is divine inspiration in my creative process.”
Guderian, who insists that her art and her day job are “as different as night and day,” says she is not at all artistically inspired by paperwork. In fact, Guderian only creates on the weekends, and greatly values the limited time she is able to work on her art. Her creative process is typically something that comes to her in the form of a dream. “I will wake up in the middle of the night and an idea will come to me. I also find inspiration from images and landscapes.”
Her creativity is nurtured by an unexpected source. “I have four wolf dogs. They are loves. They keep me company when I am in my studio creating. I have placed my anvil on the floor so that I have better control and leverage when hammering out my copper and brass. They will come in one by one and check me out. They lay next to me. They are like my creative entourage.” With a perfect cocktail of fabulous design and positive energy, it’s no wonder that people are drawn to her pieces. Admirers gaze at her work with reverence, wonder in their eyes and smiles that could light up a room.
“I am drawn to brass. I find a certain kind of comfort in the way it surrenders to fire. When I am firing brass, there is a limited time frame to manipulate it. It is a challenge to work with. If you miss your moment in the creative process, then the brass hardens and becomes more difficult to work with,” Guderian says.
Her pieces oft en include exotic semi-precious stones, such as jade and labradorite, both of which she is particularly inspired to use in this season’s creations, in addition to carnelian and raw crystal, among many others, with the occasional old world Tibetan coin thrown in for good measure. When these organic elements are combined with the warmth of pounded metal, the results are pure magic.
Guderian’s designs can be found at Enjoy the Store in Redding and Red Bluff , Carousel, Th e Velvet Loft, Boheme Salon and Spa and on Facebook.
Guderian’s Facebook page isn’t fl ooded solely with photos of her own designs. Instead, you’ll find images of her jewelry intermingled with fashion-forward images of women in couture gowns blowing in the wind, natural rock and cloud formations, vintage images of empowered women flying planes and riding motorcycles, texturally diverse photos that capture the sharp contrast of light and darkness, and everything in between. Sometimes, the photos feature mist-covered scenes of wildlife in their element, or snapshots of the members of her creative
entourage as they keep her company. Oft en these images are backed by quotes of encouragement, gently guiding the reader to take the day by the horns or to go into a peaceful, restful slumber. But always – in all ways – they are inspiring.