Jewelry Artist Roger Halas Talks About Design and Inspiration

Karla Rosenbusch
is the managing editor
Lapidary Journal
Jewelry Artist.

Through my work on Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, I've been very privileged in getting to know several top jewelry artists and jewelry makers. One of those artists is Roger Halas, who has not only provided Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist with some incredible jewelry projects but who is also an expert on gemstones and minerals. His mineralogy articles have graced the pages of many of our issues.

meteorite pendant
All photos by Roger Halas.

I recently asked Roger about his jewelry, his inspiration, and his favorite jewelry-making materials. His answers were as fun and informative as Roger himself!

Where do you get inspiration for your jewelry designs?
Much of my inspiration stems from an interest in mythology and science fiction. Although the two are at opposite ends of the technological spectrum, I prefer to explore both worlds, boldly crossing that void between the mechanical and the supernatural and using those elements to create pieces that evoke a sense of mystery.

What are your favorite jewelry-making materials to use?
As far as materials go, I'll use anything that lends itself to the creative process. Aside from conventional metals such as gold and silver, I especially like working with mokume gane because of the organic quality it imparts to a design. Since I'm also a stone cutter, I like working with materials that have striking colors or patterns, plus I'm always game to work with fossils. Let's just say I never outgrew my childhood dinosaur fixation.

I know you use many different jewelry-making techniques. Is there one in particular that you prefer?
My techniques tend to be highly varied, but I'll attempt any process that seems feasible. I'm not much for traditional approaches–particularly those that may be antiquated in light of newer technologies–preferring to explore more modern design methods, no matter how unconventional. You mentioned inspiration; this is inspiration with a Machiavellian twist. The only caveat is sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But you never know until you try.

mokume gane bracelet

What jewelry projects are you working on right now?
I tend to multitask, so I have several projects that are at various stages of completion. Right now I'm working on anything from shark teeth to a complex cuff bracelet to designing a custom piece for a friend.

What is the best advice you can give anyone who is just starting to make their own jewelry?
The best advice for a novice is to learn whatever you can about the technical process; then start with a simple project. Once you get the feel for the tools and how different materials behave under stress, then try something more difficult. Like all things in life, evolution applies to the creative process as well.

raptor tooth pendant

To learn more about Roger and see more of his jewelry designs, check out the R Halas Creations Facebook page. The April 2011 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist also contains two fantastic articles by Roger: a mineralogy article on purple sagenitic agate and an accompanying project for making a sagenite intarsia pendant.

You'll also find much more in the April issue, including part four of Lexi Erickson's series of articles on soldering; this one tells you all about the different types of torches and how to choose the one that's right for you. In addition, you'll find projects on creating a turquoise and pierced silver bead bracelet and a fluted silver cuff. You'll also learn more about fossilized ivory, low-tech etching, using nonmetal stakes, and how to promote your jewelry online with how-tos.

If you don't subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, look what you're missing! Sign up today and soon you'll find much more from Roger Halas and a wide range of other jewelry makers who'll share their knowledge with you.

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