I first encountered Linda Gebert through the Ganoksin Gallery. Her work stood out to me as particularly colorful and joyful. Then I discovered that aside from her jewelry designs, Linda also works in fibers. I asked her about working as a metalsmith, enamel expert and fiber artist:
I hadn’t consciously considered a connection before, but since they spring from a common brain they must.
I transitioned from painting to enamels, then included metal working, missed working with color there, so
combined enameling into my jewelry. I had always wanted to try silk painting, loving the lush way silk absorbs
dye, but held myself back, thinking I needed to narrow the focus and perfect one medium, instead of being all
over the map. The restless mind would not behave, so I started with silk painting, and gradually added the
needle felting too. I enjoy the different way of working, actually, physically, that each presents. I find there’s
also new sense of enthusiasm in being away from one media for a while. It renews the spirit, and spurs the
Your enamels have a quirky, joyful quality...how would you describe your style?
medium of enamel can do. I often work on several little “canvasses” of copper or silver, concurrently. Then I
decide which speak to me the most, and the chosen ones become pieces of jewelry.
Linda also specializes in "faux bone" pieces. I asked about the attraction to this material.
This is something that appealed to me, but I’m very new at it, and my pieces are pretty derivative of the
wonderfully inventive Robert Dancik’s examples so far. Things from the natural world, rocks, leaf skeletons,
bone, shells have always held a fascination, and this product is so easily made to look like something natural
and organic. Germinating in my head right now, are ideas of the earthy, primitive look of bone, combined in
pieces, with enamel. Stay tuned.
Who have been your greatest influences over the years?
First I have to answer to “what”, and that is growing up visiting the Wichita Center for the Arts, and it’s vast
collection of enamels. From childhood, I knew I wanted to work in that medium. For many years we had the
“Midwest Enamelist Guild”, founded by Australian enamellist Glenice Lesley Matthews, who was Director of
the Center for a time. Through this organization we brought many renowned enamellists to the Center,
most, as to the style of working. In painting? Larry Rivers.
How fortunate to have studied with John Cogswell! What do you think has been the most valuable lessons
from your teachers?
I learned to dispense with formalty, as to the “proper way” to accomplish something. Instead, be pragmatic.
If it works for you, do it that way. It was license to experiment, and “cut corners” if the outcome was successful.
And what did you most enjoy about teaching?
lines to make a stunning drawing is the real trick. But students come to enameling not knowing anything
intuitively, or experientially, about it, so creating their first object in enamel is such a thrill of discovery for them.
That makes it all worthwhile. I always emphasized that it is the most empirical of learning experiences. Enamel
is very serendipitous, and you only become an expert when you can figure out why it did something unexpected,
and find you have the ability to duplicate what happened.
What advice do you have for weathering this economy?
Since I don’t depend on sales of my work as my only income, I’ve been disappointed at the drop in sales at the
galleries and museums where my work is placed, but not devastated.
What advice do you have for fledgling jewelry designers?
Wow, if I had a wonderful nugget of advice, I’d give it to myself. I’ve always had to balance my art with making a living elsewhere, and earlier, raising children too. I never had the luxury of doing it full time. I guess the best advice would be to study with someone who will push you to your limits. And keep learning, always.
Where can your work be seen?
around the state. I found it was difficult to monitor what was happening with work placed farther away. Your readers/viewers can see my work at www.lindagebert.com
I really appreciate Linda's sense of abstract color! Her work is ever so lovely!
Thanks for stopping by!