Artist Jeff Fulkerson

Jeff Fulkerson

At the age of 16 Jeff Fulkerson started making jewelry and he has been creating stunning, imaginative jewelry ever since. When he saw his cousin wearing a Navajo bracelet he knew he had to have one. A model building prodigy from the age of five, he simply went to the workshop and taught himself to craft silver. And so it began. The first ring he ever made was quickly sold. It was then that he begin a lifelong passion for making people (and outfits) look amazing! A contributing artist to Lapidary Journal’s Jewelry Artist Magazine, his work has also been seen in Art Jewelry Magazine, Step by Step Wire, & Rock & Gem Magazine. His work has also been featured in the Tucson Show Guide numerous times. Fulkerson says, “The first rule of jewelry making is it shouldn’t hurt. If it isn’t comfortable to wear, why bother? The second is that you should be able to accentuate an evening gown or a pair of jeans with the same piece of jewelry. My style is versatile, bold, and unique.” Jeff is a recipient of the Courtney McGowan Design Award as well as a blue-ribbon award winner for his jewelry in design and construction at the San Diego County Fair. Some of his awards include Best Educational Exhibit, Coordinator’s Cup (2005 and 2009), and Best Single Jewelry Piece (2005 and 2009). His statement piece “Scaling New Heights” won a Gemmy Award in 2015. Fulkerson’s meticulous execution and attention to detail is becoming well known among industry professionals. He lights up when talking about the matrix inside of a Tiffany Stone or a piece of Variscite. A master of inlay and design, he refers to inlay as “painting with rocks.” His silverwork is all self-taught, and he learned inlay from the best in the world: Richard Tsosie, Michael Cheatham, and Jesse Monongye. His work is more spirited than ‘fine’ jewelry, more intricate and sophisticated than something manufactured. It is a deep, soul-wrought achievement of metal, stone, and fire that pulls together to create something unlike any other. “I call it Art Jewelry- it’s as unique as you are.” Fulkerson began teaching silversmithing and jewelry making at the age of 18 when he taught summer classes at the San Diego Museum of Man. Since then, he has gone on to teach all across the United States from San Diego to Philadelphia, including Bead Fest, Bead and Button, Art Unraveled, Art Retreat in the Desert and Jewelry Craft Expo as well as a number of private studios and clubs. Fulkerson has invented and patented tools for silversmithing including the Steady Stamp and Fast Flare Forming Disks. Currently he is working on instructional videos and ‘How-To’ e-books. Together with his wife Roxanne, they run Alden Jeffries Design.

Stuff vs. Meaning

I wear a lot of jewelry, a lot of the time. I’ve made every piece I wear (except my wedding ring) and each piece has its own meaning to me. I always wear the second ring I ever made. Why? Because I made it for me, because I wanted a silver and turquoise ring and after making the first one, I discovered I could make one that I would wear. It symbolizes to me that I can do this, I can make something that measures up.

Windows

Windows come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, materials, colors and functions. Some windows open from the top, some the bottom. Some open sided to side and some don’t open at all. Windows can be made from vinyl, wood, steel, aluminum and even brass.

Hold On Loosely

I LOVE this ring! There are so many reasons why. First, it’s well-made and I know it will stand up under the daily wear and tear of a ring that you never take off. But beyond that, there are some deeper qualities that I want to talk about.

Filing Away at LIfe

Whenever you are making jewelry, there is filing involved. You have to remove the unwanted material. I don’t love filing, and I don’t hate it. It’s just a part of jewelry making.

Timeless Bolo Ties

I’m really into bolo ties right now, probably for a lot of reasons. When I was a kid, my step-dad had all these fabulous bolo ties which he would wear just about everywhere. About the only place he wouldn’t wear one was to a formal event. (He would have, but my mom would have killed him!)

Porcelain Jasper Inlaid Cuff

This is the cuff I made for the Beginning Inlay Video project. I’m very happy with it for a number of reasons. First, it’s always fun to have an idea in your head and when you finish the project, it looks WAY better than you ever could have imagined.

Success?

I read a tongue-in-cheek article about someone who wanted to quit her “day job” and make her living with her jewelry designs. So far so good. I think that covers a lot of people. But then she had a list of things she wouldn’t be willing to do.

Fun with a Copper Cuff

We had a fun time at the Bouncing Bead last Saturday making a copper cuff bracelet. Even though copper is a little harder to work with than silver, you can still get stunning results.

Don’t Fear the Flame

“I want to learn how to solder but I’m SO afraid of the torch!” I hear this all the time. Many artists that create beautiful, beaded creations want to go to the next level and learn to solder so that they can add pendants to their pieces. What’s holding them back? Fear of fire!