The Queue: Alicia Goodwin

The Queue: Alicia Goodwin

Discover what individuals from our craft community are into right now.

Published on Monday, December 14, 2020.
blog post cover graphic for The Queue featuring Alicia Goodwin

Introducing the Gift series of The Queue

A weekly roundup for and by the craft community, the Gift series of The Queue introduces you to the artists featured in the most recent issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as the projects, books, podcasts, and more that are inspiring them right now.

Behind every piece of jewelry is a little of the artist's life

Based in Chicago, Alicia Goodwin is the artist behind the jewelry line Lingua Nigra. She's featured in "Natural Metalsmiths," a piece from our Gift issue that explores the traditions and techniques behind her work. Alicia also curated our first-ever installment of Maker x Maker. @linguanigra

Portrait of Alicia Goodwin in studio

Photo: Anjali Pinto, courtesy of the artist

How do you describe your work or practice in 50 words or less?
My work is part metal collage, part textural experience. I love the practice of changing the texture and shape of metal, so much so that it kind of has its own history to it. I rarely am just done once I add texture to something. I add on with bits and pieces, chain, etc. until the work tells me it's done.

During this time of isolation and social unrest, where are you finding beauty and how are you staying grounded?
Being a jeweler is usually a solo experience anyway, so not much has changed. I do find myself on the phone a lot more than usual, as it's nice to hear actual voices, rather than the ones on my computer screen! I try to take naps when I'm overwhelmed, and I find that working at night is where I function the best.

On the theme of our December/January issue, what does giving mean to you and your work, particularly during this challenging year?
The beauty of making something so visual is that I can just share what I do day to day, and people will be happy. I love to share what I do and how I do it, my ideas, etc. with people – that way they know how much of me goes into every piece. It's been a really rough, strange year, and I have never pressured people into purchasing the work, as I never want people to regret having something of mine in their possession. Rather, they can always look at images or layouts of what I do and how it's created and be inspired.

What has been the biggest barrier you've had to break through to get to the place you’re at with your career?
Time has been one of the largest barriers for me and my work. Finding the time to be able to find what works for me has been the largest barrier. Doing shows, making work, posting online, engaging, etc. – it's all so much, but somehow I've managed to work it out.

Bangles by Alicia Goodwin

Read more about Alicia's practice in "Natural Metalsmiths," featured in the December/January 2021 issue of American Craft.
Photo: Joan Cuenco

What’s one of your go-to tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
Oh wow, I did a few TikToks about this! I have sooo many tools! Today I would say my flexible shaft machine is a favorite tool and a must for most jewelers. It's a more powerful version of what a dentist uses, and I use it for almost every step in creating my work.

I love to share what I do and how I do it, my ideas, etc. with people – that way they know how much of me goes into every piece.

What’s an exhibition or art project you think the world should know about?
It just closed, but the Doru Olowu exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago was really great, with art by Chicagoans, curated by Doru. I'll be honest, I haven't gone out much these days, but I am looking forward to seeing Bisa Butler's solo exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. I will always be a lover of textiles, and Bisa creates the most beautiful art with fabric, it's just unreal.

Bisa Butler The Safety Patrol

Bisa Butler. The Safety Patrol, 2018. Cavigga Family Trust Fund. © Bisa Butler.

What research or writing are you doing, or seeing others do, that has you inspired?
I'm always looking at jewelry from all over the world and love to collect vintage books about jewelry or the art of metalsmithing. I haven't written anything of worth since college, but hopefully that will change a little, as I plan to come out with a small line of greeting cards that have funny sayings on them.

What podcast should we be listening to right now?
I like podcasts where the focus is on Black makers and culture, and mostly women. I could make a long list, but I love Tea with Queen and J, Bag Ladiez, The Friend Zone, and – my ultimate favorite – Side Hustle Pro. I also love Ana Sale's Death, Sex & Money, and if I'm up early enough, I'll tune into Brian Lehrer on WNYC because he's a national treasure.

Side Hustle Pro podcast logo

What book should we be reading or paying attention to right now?
Can I tell you about books I plan to read? Haa! I've purchased Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby for some much needed humor. Also in my queue is The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. A classic that still rings true today.

Double handle vase by Osa Atoe

Double handle vase by Osa Atoe
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

If you could purchase any artist's work for your home or studio, whose would it be and why?
Oh wow. What wouldn't I purchase? I have my eyes on so many things! I love the beautiful massive scrolls of work by artist Yetunde Olagbaju that are like portals to the next world. I would also love a piece of much sought after pottery by artist Osa Atoe. Her work is straightforward with beautiful lines and texture. It would look so lovely on my shelf! I also love the beautiful mobiles by Sarah Perez of Electric Sun Creatives. We were neighbors at a show, and I just loved seeing everyone's reaction to her beautiful work.

Are you binge-watching anything right now?
I just finished watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. I honestly didn't think I would like it as much as I did. I think it's because I'm always fascinated by folks who can make a living from just the thoughts in their minds (like myself) and be successful at it. I also really loved how her mom instilled in her the art of saving money.

What’s your favorite social media post you’ve seen recently?
Oh wow. I post so much content on Instagram! I can't think of a particular one, but I love to decompress from all the madness and look at posts about cats or baby sloths. Lots of baby sloth posts.

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Baby sloth gif