His Found Objects End Up in Keepsake Boxes

Jason Janow no longer uses sharks’ teeth to craft his fine jewelry, but the pieces still stand out for their earthy edges. Photo by Nathan Rivers Chesky.

Standing in the middle of the stream, Jason Janow tucks his fly rod under his arm, reaches into the water, and picks up a smooth stone, examining it for a moment before putting it in a pocket already full of twigs and other pebbles he’s collected. Only then does he turn his attention back to the elusive trout.

Jason’s studio is in the home he shares with his wife Erin, an accomplished potter, and their 8-year-old son Herschel. The jewelry artist made his first piece — a shark’s-tooth necklace — when he was a teenager. The spark never died, even though he spent most of his early professional life as a carpenter. He renewed his inspiration by entering Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts Jewelry Program, graduating with distinction in 2004. “I got my first wholesale account at Grovewood Gallery during our graduation exhibition there,” says Jason. He was soon selling his jewelry at shows and taking on any custom work that came his way.

Photo by Nathan Rivers Chesky.

When he gets home from his fly-fishing trips and mountain hikes, he empties his pockets and begins considering the possibilities presented by the stones, branches, and other pieces. He also integrates precious metals and gemstones into his work, although the result is never slick: silver cuffs are ridged to suggest rough bark, rings twist coyly together like vines. In the end, he explains, it’s the relationship between the materials that he strives to capture.

Sometimes, he envisions a design from a found object when he first picks it up. Then again, “it’s important that I don’t make that a necessity,” says Jason. Nature never stays still, and he doesn’t want to limit himself, either.

Jason Janow, Asheville. For details, call 828-775-1878 or visit janowmetalsmithing.com. Janow’s work will be featured in Miya Gallery’s Holiday Party and Trunk show from 6–8pm on Friday, December 15. For details, call 828-658-9655 or visit miyagallery.com.

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