Artsy: The exploration of materials is a big part of the decorative arts and particularly in your work. What processes of research and investigation inform your use of materials? Do you use found elements at all?
DW: There are different inherent attributes in each material I use, and I firmly believe in the making process as a means of material investigation. Many of the objects could only have been fashioned after spending hours grinding bronze, homing in on the specific surface treatments that I believe brought out the extraordinary beauty within the material.
Discovering a quality in the material isn’t enough—my real challenge is not only in understanding how to harness attributes within the material, but applying it to a concept that is worthy of the beauty within the material itself.
I use found objects all the time, but all are manipulated in some way or another to bring out a particular quality. Some examples are the vintage bead chains on all of my “Glacier” lights. They came from a warehouse in Rhode Island—overstock from some long forgotten jewelry manufacturer that I then patina in different metallic tones and bend to accommodate the electrical cables. When stacked as a chain, I love how the organic teardrop quality and the rhythm of colors contrasts with the precision of the facet-cut crystal. Other examples are the buds, branches, and blossoms that I come across on walks that are then cast in various different media.