Jaime Pelissier


Serena French met Jaime Pelissier in Florence, Italy, one rainy March day. Jaime was studying goldsmithing, and apprenticing with a master goldsmith. Serena was studying late medieval Italian literature. They met in front of a painting by Masaccio, in the Uffizi Galleries.

Jaime had left his native Chile the previous summer, to learn as much as he could about the jeweler’s craft. In Chile he had studied electronics and philosophy before beginning at the School of Fine Arts and then opening a sculpture studio with his friend Francisco Gazitúa. As he realized that, in Chile, his ability in small metalwork would not find the instruction he needed, he left for Europe, where he stayed for three and a half years. After two years in Italy and one in Finland, and then six months in New York, he found work in Mexico working with craft communities and with the jewelry industry as a designer, educator and consultant. The four-year commitment to that mission over, he moved to New England to set up his own design and fabrication studio in gold and platinum jewelry. His studio and gallery in Greenwich, CT, proved successful, but he began to wish he could devote more time to the exploration of form and content and less to the service involved with running a jewelry store. He retired to work full time in the iron studio he had set up, and then made a complete break with the commercial side of his experience by entering a Master of Fine Arts degree program in iron at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. The new work he is developing combines the masterful skill of the goldsmith with a larger format provided by iron. He is also listening to a narrative voice that the new medium allows along with the same dedication to form and harmony from the small scale work he was doing before. In 2007 he moved to Richmond, VA, to set up a new combined studio with other artists. He has taught as adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.