“ ‘Stampclastic’ as I call it, is a tribute to all the jewelers around the world who transform any old piece of steel into tools or any piece of metal into beautiful jewelry.”
I was born and grew up in Paris, France.
My interest in metalsmithing started at 19 when I moved to Taos New-Mexico where I studied Navajo, Zuni and Hopi techniques and traditions, specially Navajo stamp work. I was then drawn to the work in West Africa when I moved to Mali, where I studied Touareg, Fulani and other techniques that have been passed from one generation to another in the apprenticeship tradition.
In the modern world, these techniques are getting lost and I was moved to attempt to preserve them by writing a book called “Legacy, jewelry techniques of West Africa”. Through that time I developed a style of metalsmithing using stamps that I call Stampclastic.
In 2014 Tim McCreight and I created the Toolbox initiative, a non profit organization that helps jewellers in West Africa mostly by giving donated tools.
I have a passion for ethnic techniques from around the world. I am fascinated with the know- how, the transmission of the craft and the transformation of raw or recycled material into beautiful ornaments by gold and silversmiths of those different countries.
I started making a living as a jeweler by stamping traditional Navajo bracelets and Concho belts for Native American Indian jewelers.
Stamping holds a special place in my heart; it is a technique that can be done anywhere and is used all across Africa. Stamps can be made out of any piece of steel. Often the design is a geometrical shape, and used as an accent to decorate the metal, draw a line or just to add a few motifs here and there. I have been using this technique for over 20 years and developed my own form of stamping by creating patterns that filled the entire piece of metal.
Over the years my stamped design evolved; my recent pieces are made of those patterns that are then anticlastically shaped into bracelets and rings. “Stampclastic” as I call it, is a tribute to all the jewelers around the world who transform any old piece of steel into tools or any piece of metal into beautiful jewelry.
Classes Taught by Matthieu Cheminée
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