Statement and Bio
I create jewelry and sculpture informed by my female experience and how advertisements, popular culture, beauty products, and fashion trends portray what women need or want. Ornate mirror frames, tools used for beautification, faceted gems, and the human body, inspire the design of these objects. The surfaces of the work are often lace patterned and at times include actual crocheted elements. I include crochet for it’s lacey, frilly appearance, my interest in the technique, but also because it’s historically viewed as a women’s skill. Color is incorporated primarily to reference human flesh, cosmetics, the body, and blood. Materials such as skin toned rubber and mirrors reference the human body, self-examination, and vanity. Other materials like pearls, gems, feathers, enamel, hair, silver, and gold are chosen for their aesthetic qualities, emotional resonance, preciousness, and value associations.
I aim for my work to be both beautiful and playful and at times even absurd or humorous; it addresses my own repulsion, frustration, and at the same time attraction to gender based expectations.
Jill Baker Gower is a metalsmith, jeweler, and educator who resides near Madison, WI. She has been a maker for as long as she can remember. Creating by hand is what fuels her soul and provides a sense of belonging. Jill has taught jewelry and metalsmithing for 18 years. Teaching and sharing jewelry and metals techniques and concepts with others is what drives her continued interest in connecting and growing the jewelry community. Prior to relocating to Madison, WI, Jill was an Associate Professor of Art and taught Jewelry/Metals full time for 11 years at Rowan University in New Jersey.
She is originally from the Chicago area, received her BS in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and her MFA in Metals from Arizona State University. Jill’s work has been in many juried and curated exhibitions nationwide and has been published in Metalsmith magazine and books such as 500 Enameled Objects, CAST, and Little Dreams in Glass and Metals: Enameling in America 1920 to the Present. Jill is a former resident artist of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. Jill was a recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship (2015). She served on the Board of Directors of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) from 2016 - 2019.