PUBLISHED: 11:45 AM on Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Law finds beauty in the unconventional

  Three gold rings by Rowan Law, February featured artist at the Juneau Artists Gallery.
"Wabi-Sabi", says Rowan Law, featured artist/jewelry maker for Juneau Artists Gallery First Friday in February, when describing his style of work.

"It is a Japanese concept of looking at things differently and finding beauty in the imperfect, unpretentious and unconventional".

Another artist first used this term about his work, which prompted him to do a google search to define it. He found it suggests a "natural process and also an intimacy". Wabi-Sabi also is "simple, irregular and earthy."

  Ebony and opal pendant.
Rowan feels his art holds these attributes. He does use simple yet elegant lines in his gold or silver work to set off his choice of stones - be it unpretentious, irregular beach glass or precious opals. The importance of space as well as the focal point of the lapidary work has captured this Japanese-look in his rings, earrings pendants and bracelets.

Rowan also is unconventional in that he makes his own wire and sheet metal. He uses the scrap from previous work, melts it down into his own ingot mold. He says this is cheaper than buying it ready-made with gold costing $400 per ounce.

  Sterling bracelet.
Rowan came to jewelry making and this style in an unconventional way, late in life he says. Although he is internationally schooled, having grown up in Spain and England, the local cultures did not have a conscious influence on him. Studying at the University of Essex in England, he says, did not expose him to art. It wasn't until he worked as a window washer for a jeweler in Maui, Hawaii, that he became intrigued by this process of jewelry making. Seeing the tools and torch piqued his interest. He began researching and reading to teach himself at a bookstore/coffee shop in Pittsburgh, PA. This was the beginning of Wabi Sabi - a natural, intimate process of self discovery.

Then in Arizona where his physical therapist wife was assigned, he took a class in silver smithing and lapidary. He purchased tools and began practicing at home. Upon his move to Juneau in 1998, Rowan continued taking classes from Micheal Hunter, well-known local jewelry maker, at UAS. Rowan introduced his work to all at the Public Market and then joined the Juneau Artists Gallery in 2000.

Juneau Artists Gallery will be open Tuesday - Saturday, 10-6 pm all month for viewing his work.