Forging a Legacy | Mingei International Museum

The artisan's timeless designs handcrafted in a bucolic San Diego setting are shaped by nature, tradition and values learned from his Dad, the revered mid-century jewelry designer and sculptor Jack Boyd.

You’re known for the organic modernist shapes in your signature designs. Can you tell us about those and other influences?

In my Brutalist and organic designs, I enjoy making the metal flow into unique formations twisting and curving like a mountain stream.

Does the countryside where your home and studio are located inform your work?

The peace and quiet around my studio, as well as the sounds of the native quail, give me tranquility as I create.

What’s your process?

For my modernist line of jewelry, I forge raw metal with a hammer and a torch on a blacksmith’s anvil. The process I use for my organic line is carving wax with a hot pen, then casting it in silver, bronze or gold. This process is called “lost wax.”

"Many clients often tell me how comfortable my pieces are, and that is just as important to me as the design."

How do you balance form and function, or beauty and utility? Does one take precedence over the other?

I try to make each piece very comfortable to wear, whether it’s a ring, bracelet, necklace or earrings. Many clients often tell me how comfortable my pieces are, and that is just as important to me as the design.

Are many of the works commissioned?

Yes, many times I create commissioned work. It’s very special to me to meet the person and custom-create a piece just for them.

Did you spend much time in your father Jack Boyd's studio as a kid?

I spent a lot of my time in my Dad’s studio starting at the age of five. He taught me how to hammer and solder bronze into circles. He, in turn, gave me money to buy the things I wanted. Little did I know he was teaching me a lifelong skill that would support me and my family. I’m so grateful to my Dad for giving me this ability to carry on the tradition of creating unique, artful jewelry.

Do you use many of the tools you inherited?

All of my tools and anvil are from my Dad’s studio. I especially love using his hammers as he drilled little holes into the wood handles for comfort.

His designs are remarkable. How has he informed your own masterpieces? What’s his most important legacy?

My Dad’s influences are the designs and uniqueness he taught me, and it’s really all I know. It’s just the traditional style of the Boyd jewelry that influences me. My Dad's legacy is so particular. He was an incredibly kind man, who was always there to help people in need, as well as create timeless designs in jewelry and sculpture to be appreciated and loved for years. In many ways, he was ahead of his time.

Your jewelry is carried in Shop Mingei. When did you first connect with the Museum? Do you feel a connection to the mingei aesthetic?

The way I came in contact with Mingei was through Dave Hampton of Objects USA. We were just starting the jewelry line again, and Dave recommended to my wife Lynn to contact Mingei Collectors Gallery, now Shop Mingei—a great place to sell our jewelry. We have been there since 2008, and it has been an amazing experience. The people who work and shop there have been wonderful. The common value I have with Mingei is the love and appreciation for art of the people. Mingei is a very special place.

What are you working on now, or what’s next?

For the future, I'm working on some unique tableware and artful hardware for the home with the traditional Boyd flair.

Stay tuned.

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