Bryan Lewis

Born in 1960, my early years were spent in southern Indiana on my grandfather’s farm. This is where I began exploring nature while exploring the woods that made up a large part of it. After my father’s death in 1967, our family moved to Arizona. I graduated from West Phoenix High School in 1979, then moved to Northern Arizona to attend Yavapai College in Prescott majoring in art. College was interrupted by two developments: I fell in love and got married to my lovely wife Brenda, then decided to join the Army. After my tour serving in the field artillery in the Army, we moved back to Arizona to work in Brenda’s parents’ restaurant in the Verde Valley while going back to college. I worked as a cook, while Brenda joined her mother on the wait staff. We also had three great kids come along during this time, and we kept very busy as you can imagine. As college was part time during those years, it took quite a while to finish. Finally, I earned my BS in Arts Management in 1994, then an MBA in General Management in 1996. I then spent several years working in the hospitality industry and teaching high school.

Living in the Southwest has been a great privilege. Here, nature is at our backdoor, with stunning and varied beauty available in any direction. Brenda and I love to spend time in the outdoors. We recently moved to Ivins, UT to be nearer Brenda’s elderly father. We spend a lot of time exploring this magnificent area, recently visiting Bryce Canyon was our latest adventure.

The beauty of the natural world is my primary inspiration as an artist. My work takes a closer, and more intimate look at nature. My subjects include wildflowers, small animals, insects and birds native to the Southwest. I use the ancient metalworking techniques of chasing and repousse to make jewelry and small works of bas relief sculpture. My training in this technique has been mostly self-taught (many painful lessons were learned). This technique dates to the bronze age and has been employed by every major culture worldwide. A three-dimensional design is raised from a piece of sheet metal resting on chaser’s pitch in an iron bowl. Hammers and punches are used to slowly form the design from both front and back. Between working each side, the pitch is heated, and the metal removed. The metal is then annealed with a jeweler’s torch to soften the work-hardened metal so that it will not break or crack during the next work session. The process is very labor intensive but produces a finished work with a human quality that cannot be gained from the more conventional jewelry making methods. Stamping and casting cannot produce the beautiful hand-worked surfaces of repousse. These surfaces are enhanced by application of an antique patina, which brings out the relief of the design. Sterling silver is the ideal metal for this work. I also use gold accents and natural gemstones to add a color dimension. I try my best to make use of ethical sourcing for my materials. I use Earth Silver (recycled sterling silver) and ethically sourced gemstones. In this way I tread lightly on the Earth to explore her beauty.