Casting About In Nature
French writer Edmund de Goncourt once wrote, “A poet is a man that puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin.” The artistic journey of local jewelry artist, Stan Cothern follows much the same creative spirit. Born on a farm in west-central Missouri and growing up in Kansas City instilled in Stan solid mid-west values, and a talent for creative problem solving.
Following the path of many over the years, Stan worked as a welder for a couple of years before deciding that if he was ever going to get ahead he needed a college education. So he entered Central Missouri University, and after several moves and working full time all the way, Stan graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in 1976. This success enabled him to work as a Manager of Manufacturing for a plant producing pressure vessels and industrial mixing and baking machines. He then moved to the position of Vice President in a similar company. All of this would come into creative play later in Stan’s life.
Stan’s first introduction to Arizona was in the late 60s visiting his uncle, Loyd Cothern, a silversmith, who was “snow birding” in the area of Black Canyon City.” The area became a favorite of Stan’s family inspiring Stan’s dad to buy a lot next to his brother. Finally, after falling in love with this slice of Arizona, in 1972 Stan bought his dad’s lot with a promise he would move to Arizona, upon retirement. That promise was realized eleven years ago; Stan and his wife Beth never looked back. At this point, Stan made the decision to focus on his creative side. He had long admired his Uncle’s silver work, so taking advantage of a ride with Beth to her management position in Prescott, Stan enrolled in Yavapai College to learn jewelry design and fabrication. He credits his mentors, Bill Ford, Carolyn Ensley, Alex Horst, and R.D. “Bubba” Shackelford for opening a vast array of possibilities in design and unique use of materials. While taking a silver casting class, Stan decided to bring in clippings from a citrus tree his father had planted 50 years before on his land. The jewelry fabricated from these clippings were an instant hit with Stan’s family.
Stan figured if this worked, he would try casting vines, cactus skeletons and other organic objects. The nature cast jewelry became Stan’s signature “look” of his designs today. His small shop today is full of dried specimens waiting to be immortalized in silver. Stan feels his background in engineering has been a great help in taking a design concept to a finished object. He says, “If I can envision it, then I can make it.” The precision he learned from his early training comes in handy when setting gemstones in a piece, as well. His favorites are faceted stones of Sapphire, Tourmaline Tanzanite, and Demantoid Garnet. Recently, Stan has had quite a bit of success including meteorite fragments and Damascus steel, which make stunning and eye-catching pieces.
Stan is a member artist of Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery on Whiskey Row in Prescott (134 E. Montezuma) where his work is presently on display, a great stopping point for Prescott’s Fourth Friday’s Art Walk. Follow the Cooperative’s gallery displays and events at www.artsprescott.com. Stan is also a participating artist in Rock a Rama held at Black Canyon City’s High Desert Park from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1; admission is free. He enjoys this event, year after year, because it gives him a chance to reconnect with former clients, and meet new ones as well.
Stan does custom work on commission, on occasion, such as wedding rings or jewelry pieces from objects that have special meaning to the person or family. The options are endless. To view Stan Cothern’s work, keep up with his exhibit schedule, or commission a piece of your own, visit the Arts Prescott Web site at www.Artsprescott.com, his ETSY store StancothernjewelryII, or his Facebook page. Stan can also be contacted at his email at Stncothern269@gmail.com or call (623) 374-5069.
Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at email@example.com.