The Queue: Carin Jones

The Queue: Carin Jones

Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.

Published on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
blog post cover graphic for The Queue featuring Carin Jones
cover of the summer 2022 issue of American Craft magazine

Welcome to the Forge series of The Queue.
A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, The Queue introduces you to the artists, curators, organizers, and more featured in the current issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now.

Carin Jones leaves no stone unturned in her hunt for materials.
Carin Jones, who previously worked as a zookeeper, unites ethically obtained animal bones and skulls, delicate leaves, and gemstones in her jewelry, bringing together the overlooked and the precious in her compositions. “I gather all these things and wait for them to tell me where they want to go,” she says of her work. “I’m just an assembler.” Jones is featured in the Summer 2022 issue of American Craft, where you can see detailed photos of her work. | @jonesingforjewelry

hand holding up set of bronze cast leaves

Photos courtesy of Carin Jones.

How do you describe your work or practice?
I am an artist who derives my inspiration from my zoological background, assembling materials of low perceived value into treasured pieces of wearable art that challenges society’s perspective and, moreover, assists in realigning the audience’s standpoint. It clarifies the equality of elements, and emphasizes the true value of the natural world.

portrait of woman leaning out of frame with cow skull visible on wall in background

The past couple of years have presented many challenges, from a global pandemic to renewed urgency around issues of racial equity and police brutality. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this question. It would be the blind leading the blind. For now, I’m putting one foot in front of the other, but it could take a lifetime to process it all.

necklace with purple gemstone and various ornaments
hoop earrings with rabbit skulls and gemstones

Photos courtesy of Carin Jones.

The theme of the current issue of American Craft is “Forge.” Can you reflect on that theme as it relates to your work and practice?
It’s the unexpected beauty that I’m drawn to. It’s the texture of a blackberry leaf that you would consider invasive. It’s understanding that a crystal, without its surrounding matrix, doesn’t have as much depth. Understanding that experiencing life with none of the hard stuff is an inadequate representation of our humanness.

What has been the biggest barrier you have had to break through to get to the place you’re at with your career?
Sometimes knowledge ironically shuts doors to exploration. However, without formal training to hang my hat on, I have also felt like I don’t belong. It’s akin to attending a party, but forgetting to wear pants. You’re there, but everyone knows you needed more time before you made the guest list.

jeweler working at bench with saw in studio
ring with raw gemstone and the word marine

Photos courtesy of Carin Jones.

What’s one of your favorite tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
I tell every single one of my students to buy the Fretz HMR-7 Double Ended Insert Hammer. I’m lost without it. It moves metal with ease, and without damaging your work.

Are you binge-watching anything right now, and if so, what is it?
I’m really into that Japanese show Old Enough on Netflix where they send toddlers on errands. And if you’re into bad words, as I absolutely bleeping am, then History of Swear Words with Nic Cage is hilarious.

stack of four issues of american craft with the summer 2022 issue on top

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