Up Close with Pat Phillips, Contemporary Asheville Goldsmith

Here is the first in a series of artist interviews to give you a peek into the many ways art is made. The interviews are a celebration of creative work done by passionate people in all sorts of different spaces along with their working processes that reveals each artist's aesthetic and perspective.

First up,  Patricia Phillips. I first met Pat when I stepped into her studio in the River Arts District Asheville. She is warm, dynamic and engaging and  is a goldsmith artist, creating one-of-a-kind works. Her metals are an outgrowth of her larger wall relief sculptures. Her art works speak of a strength and power. She is happy to share her understanding and excitement for the arts with others.

How does living in Asheville, NC influence your art?

Pat: Living in Asheville gives an artist three things that you don't have in most areas. The first is a very rich history of crafts and fine art which is both inspiring while supporting an audience appreciative of the arts. Second are the number of really fine artists working which creates a very high standard to live up to and a great supportive network of artists to interact with. Third is the natural beauty of the area. When you live in a truly beautiful area you want to make beautiful things.

What advice would you give other artists?

Pat: Become a doctor! Only kidding but you do have to ask yourself "How are you going to pay for the luxuries in life? Like food and a roof over your head." The best way to be creative is to make each work from your gut and inner spirit without having to be concerned about its marketability.  With each work be true to yourself and you will make better works. Try not to be influenced by wondering if it is going to sell or if others are going to like it.

Pat Phillips samples of beautiful jewelry

Pat Phillips samples of beautiful jewelry

Why do you choose to work in silver/metals?

Pat: I come from a wall relief sculpture background and still make wood wall relief sculptures which are painted with encaustics. The metals, while still satisfying my sculpture needs, are a way for me to work small and on a more personal level with people. After all they will be putting them on their body and wearing them in public. 00

What is your creative process like? Tell us about your techniques.


My creative process begins with an idea I want to communicate. In order for a work of art to be successful, it must first have a sound conceptual background.  It is important to encourage the viewer to think about the issues addressed in the work.

With the metals it is very important to me to not use any prefabricated units but make everything in the tradition of true goldsmithing. All my work is created from a sheet of silver and/or wire. In some cases very ancient techniques are used dating back as much as 5,000 years. All chains and clasp are hand-wrought as I feel it is important to keep these techniques alive.

What is your working routine?

Pat: I have found that it is very important to keep regular studio hours each day as opposed to waiting to be inspired. If you have a set time and go into the studio creativity will come. It is important to have a place to work where you can leave your materials setup and ready. I address my studio time with respect and discipline setting goals for each day.

Pat Phillips' work has been featured in numerous solo, two-person and juried group exhibitions throughout the eastern United States including six one-person shows in New-York City. Pat's March 2000 show at the Walter Wickiser Gallery in NY received a favorable review in Art News. She holds a Masters of Fine Art from Florida State University with a focus on painting and sculpture. Pat served on the Florida Arts Counsel and has appeared as a guest speaker for them. She has participated on the Visual Arts Center of Panama City Board of Directors and served as Exhibition Chairman for five years.

She has judged and juried numerous select art shows in Florida. While her work focuses on jewelry, painting and sculpture, she has a diverse background in the crafts and art history. She has taught art history and the crafts including metalsmithing on the college level for sixteen years. She is a participating member of the Florida Society of Goldsmiths.

Pat's studio is located at The Pink Dog Creative Dog Creative, 342 - 348 Depot Street | Asheville, NC 28801