Interview with Dana Noble

In my continuing series of profiling artists, today I’m happy to interview Dana Noble. Dana and I have some history. She was my college roommate during my freshman year at Iowa State, and we spent a lot of time going into and out of each other’s lives. Dana’s work is mostly in jewelry and metals, with themes that encompass the architectural and the natural. A visit to Dana’s website will give you an idea of the scope and quality of her work. One of the things that I admire about Dana is that she practices art with a conscious.

When did you first know you had an interest in art?

I became conscious of my abilities when I was in elementary school. I was into horses as many girls are. I started drawing them, and knew I had the ability to transform what I saw onto paper.

What kind of training do you have?

Inspiration and encouragement from grade school teachers first. Then, I earned a BA in Art Education. Disillusionment with teaching compelled me to answer an ad for a beginning goldsmith at Joseph Jewelers in Des Moines, Iowa. There I learned the trade of goldsmithing and bench jewelry. I wanted to live overseas and moved to Japan. There was a position for an international designer for a button manufacturer, Iris Co. Ltd. Although the company wanted European designers, they were instead blessed with an Iowan.

After returning to Iowa, I went back to school and received a MA in fine art, specialty, metalsmithing and jewelry.

What kinds of mediums do you work in?

Mainly metals such as silver, copper, and titanium. I have been using recycled gold in my work recently. And no, not tooth fillings or the scraps you send to the TV ads. I start with solid 14k rings that have not been soldered or altered.

You have some beautiful and inspired jewelry design. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Nature. Especially leaves. I love the beautiful, graceful forms. Since I don’t mass produce my work, each shape is cut out by hand and has unique form, like in nature.

Where can people buy your work?

Online through my website . I also participate in juried art festivals in the summer and fall. You can check my website for a schedule of events. Also, two galleries: Iowa Artisans Gallery in Iowa City, Iowa and Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Environmental concerns are a big part of your art. How do you make the art work you do green?

I have been using recycled metals such as gold and copper wire from obsolete computer cords. The gold is purchased at thrift shops. A surprising number of people donate gold jewelry to thrift shops. My purchasing materials at thrift shops also benefits the community, since these stores donate their proceeds to charities. Discarded computer cords are way too abundant! Places such as Habitat Restore, a home goods store that benefits Habitat for Humanity, are overwhemed with cord donations. So reusable resources are out there.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an artist?

* Don’t hesitate to pursue art and don’t “buy into” the starving artist thing.
* Combine your love of art with another interest, such as environmentalism, science, math, etc. This will widen your horizon.
* Find a community of artists for inspiration and support. Meet other artists through taking or teaching classes, galleries, or joining guilds.
* It is also practical to take some business courses or entrepeneur workshops if you want to sell your work.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.