Fort Collins metalsmith calls on auras and earthy touches.
SELF-DESCRIBED NATURE GIRL and literary geek Jane Roberti has creative visions. They come on as migraine aura scenarios.
“When I have a migraine, I doodle and these shapes come into designs,” she says. “I get auras, seeing patterns and lights. You can’t ignore it.” So she files and saws and sands. She bends and burns metals and cozies up to the radio in her Fort Collins basement studio, using hand-tools to craft jewelry and accessories for men and women. The Chicagoland transplant has been a teacher, writer, editor, clothing designer, and, now, a metalsmith. She earned her M.A. in American Literature from Northwestern University a few years ago and her children’s clothing line, Mondo Moon (which she owned in her former life), was stocked in more than 100 boutiques nationwide.
Lately, the auras are inspiring Roberti to focus on the simplicity of raw stones and minerals.
“Every time I travel anywhere, I come back with rocks in my pockets,” she says. “As I get older, I find much comfort in thinking about geologic time. And that’s what rocks and minerals mean for me: taking a long view, transforming animal, mineral, all matter over many eons, into a crystal essence.”
Her collection began with hand-pierced animal silhouettes in mixed metals, wood and leather. A modern wood and aluminum series evolved, followed by antique-like etched accessories, stone pieces, and repurposed vintage assembled jewelry.
It all started when she came across a little pierced rabbit pendant she’d made in 7th grade. “And I thought, ‘wow, that seventh grade me was awesome,’” she says. So she took a metalsmithing class, quit her desk job and sold her wares at Chicago’s Renegade Craft Fair.
Her current hits hinge on accessories like money clips, cigarette cases turned to wallets, and hip flasks she blackens and mounts etchings on. “Gift shops need stuff for guys,” she explains.
Locals swoon for the etched plant, animal and bicycle images because “as divorced from nature as we are in the 21st century, we still are animals ourselves, and I find everyone has some favorite animal or plant that speaks to them in some very personal, even totemic way,” Roberti says.
Next up, the always-learning artist plans to pursue malleable goldsmithing and wax carving for metal casting.
Find Roberti’s work at Curiosities, Storm Men’s Shop, Wolverine Farm Publick House and etsy.com.