Jason McLeod: Time Travel in Metal
Futuristic fine jewelry is what comes to mind any time we come across a Jason McLeod piece. Always distinguishable with a signature style, his jewelry is often covered in symbols, numbers, and star maps. Decoding the meaning behind each piece means unraveling the story behind the wearer…behind the significance of the wearable cipher.
Jason, last time you were interviewed by us, you had recently released the time traveler bracelets which were very popular. Since then, how has the time traveler collection evolved?
The original designs are still satisfying to make, and still work; however, the Time Traveler Collection has become embellished with many new gemstones, moving parts, moving stone settings. New rings, earrings and pendants are added to the collection monthly. A recent addition are the pyramid rings and treasure boxes. The rings are a scale version of the Great Pyramid at Giza, encoded with the Time Traveler pattern and its alien hieroglyphics. They open as poison rings, with gemstones hidden inside. I am currently working on potential designs that combine the Time Traveler pattern with insect and small creature jewelry.
You’ve mentioned that a gateway to jewelry is sculpture and metalwork. What draws you to sculpting and metalwork?
I’ve always been attracted to cool pieces of metal. As a child, I never collected stamps, cards, toys, etc., just cool pieces of metal. The weight, hardness, details, and qualities seem like a gateway to another reality.
As a refresher to those reading, you started your business turning lemons into lemonade. Can you recount the story of how you transitioned into jewelry making?
It was an evolution of the art I made my whole life, happening in the wake of two car accidents which left me immobilized for most of a year and unable to do my graphic design and advertising business. Coinciding with this was my wife’s inheritance, a large collection of family antiques including amazing pieces like George Jenson jewelry, Meissen porcelain, and piles of antique silverware and hollowware. I was inspired by the craftsmanship, design and consistency that linked pieces in an artistic way, even if they were separated by centuries of time. After the two car accidents, I started making jewelry as art to keep my mind off the turmoil and chaos of the situation.
What intrigues you most about design and metalsmithing? What do you enjoy about the process of making jewelry?
The opportunity to imagine something which does not exist and, through quite an extreme process, turn it into a real, 3-D object. I also like how with metal you can take a bunch of different shapes and join them together where they become one solid piece in a single form.
You mentioned before that you were in the music industry and related businesses. Has jewelry taken priority over that since you started in this industry, or do you enjoy both equally?
Jewelry has definitely taken over the majority of my creative life, but music is still very important to me and even still crosses over with metalsmithing in that they are like different wave lengths on the spectrum from sound to light to matter.
Your jewelry is one-of-a-kind, and often client-commissioned. What is your process when starting out with someone looking to create something unique for them? What was your most unusual request?
Custom pieces always start with what I already design as a reference, which is the reason they come to me, but I enjoy the process of understanding what they want and what will make them happy. There are practical parameters, like materials and price, but it’s pretty easy to get people what are looking for. The most unusual request was from an art gallery. The gallery brought me a collection of wasp nests and asked me to make silver wasps and wasp eggs for a bee exhibition. The finished products were mounted under glass.
What direction is Jason McLeod Jewelry heading towards in the future? What new pieces or collections can our readers be on the lookout for?
Our Dark Chocolate, Oxidized, Rain, Mod, Tube and Double Tube Setting collections are growing every week. Part of the fun and good luck for me is that I get to create new designs with the possibility that something new will happen tomorrow.
To view more Jason McLeod collections, visit his website at jasonmcleod.com or visit his Instagram @jasonmcleodjewelry.