RACHEL STORK STOLTZ
Runner Up - Exhibiting Artist
Copper, brass, sterling silver, nickel, cubic zirconia, and Mount Etna lava rock
3.875 x 3.5 x 0.875 inches
Photographed by artist
“Trinacria” is inspired by the triskelion symbol found on the Sicilian flag comprised of 3 bent legs, the head of Medusa and 3 wheat ears. Hidden deep inside is a piece of lava rock from Mount Etna, an active volcano on the eastern coast of Sicily. This hidden lava rock is discovered as you work your way down through the layers, revealing bones of the triskelion and the skull of Medusa. The skull and bones are not only characteristic of my style of work with anatomy, but they also represent the destructive nature of one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Hidden with the lava rock is a sparkling surprise that symbolizes the beautiful, but dangerous allure of Mount Etna.
I have always loved the intersection of science and art. I went to Iowa State University & the University of Illinois at Chicago to become a medical illustrator, worked in healthcare for few years and started taking classes at Lillstreet Art Center in metalsmithing as a hobby. It didn't take long for my two worlds to collide in the best of ways!
I have a unique style that blends my background in medical illustration with jewelry. Each piece is illustrative in nature using layers of hand sawn metal to creative depth and dimension. Much of my medical illustration is created with Adobe Photoshop in multiple layers of drawings and shading. When creating a piece of jewelry, I think of each layer of metal like a layer in Photoshop. I use patinas as I would carbon dust for shading. The jeweler's saw is my pencil and with it I create details, varied line weights and movement.
A few years ago someone very close to me underwent two open heart surgeries to repair and eventually replace his mitral valve. During this time, my metalwork shifted to include more patient-centered pieces. This new path brought me to California briefly, where I was the artist-in-residence for the Stanford Medicine X conference in 2014. The anatomical jewelry I create becomes a talisman for patients and family members who are battling cancer, other diseases or emotional hardships. Today I run my own business called Anatomical Element. Since health and wellness is in the forefront of the public conscience, I'm using my work to educate and invoke awareness in today's anatomical art movement. I create anatomically-correct jewelry to give a visual voice to invisible illness and disease.