June’s Artist of the Month: Tristen Chow


Credit: Tristen Chow

The image above is one of freshman Tristen Chow’s metalsmithing projects. Chow concluded that this was one of the hardests projects she’s done all year. “Everyone else was making something flat, like a landscape, or a medal, but I wanted to do something different,” Chow said. “It took time and sweat, but I had a blast.”

Kris Poole-Evans

Freshmen Tristen Chow (she/her) sparked her passion for metalsmithing during lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She loved how rings looked and soon figured out that it was easy to make them with wire. She is now taking Ms. O’Connell’s Metalsmithing 1 class, and has loved every step of the way, advancing her skills. As a freshman who has struggled with some COVID-19 restrictions, metalsmithing is a relaxing outlet for her.

How were you introduced to metalsmithing?

“Well, this summer, I did a lot of exploring with wire wrapping to make my own rings. I also tried to make a lot of stuff I saw through TikTok and Pinterest, and that made me fall in love with that form of craft making. In quarantine, I did a lot of things like crochet, knitting and other crafts. Rings are still the most fun to make, in my opinion at least.”

Have the WHS art classes helped you improve?

“Yes, definitely, especially with the introduction to heat work. The new techniques I learned and new materials that I couldn’t use at home have also really helped me with my improvement. Obviously, I don’t have access to torches or big machines [at home], but I’ve definitely been able to improve since taking the class.”

The image above is one of Chow’s metalsmithing projects. “This heart pendant was a simple take on the bezel project that we had recently,” Chow said. “I basically wanted to make a gift for my mother since it was around the time of Mother’s Day, and I just tried to think of her favorite things: hearts, silver and the color blush pink.” (Credit: Tristen Chow)

What’s your favorite piece and why? 

“I mean, I like all of the pieces I’ve made so far. Although, I think [my favorite] is probably the one I made most recently for my mom. It’s a pendant with a little heart, and I like it because I used a lot of different techniques [to make it]. Actually, it’s tied between [the pendant] and the flower I made. I used a lot of techniques that Ms. O’Connell taught me. Bending the petals took a lot of time and effort. I really hope my mom likes the pendant I made.”

Do you make your own jewelry? Have you started to make your own as opposed to buying?

“I have made some of my own jewelry. I haven’t bought anything in a while. I also have a good half and half split between jewelry I’ve made and jewelry bought. In the future, if I have more access to materials, I’d make more of my own stuff.”

Is metal working time consuming? Is it dangerous?

“Oh yeah, very time consuming. It’s less dangerous than you’d assume because of all the safety precautions. I feel very safe in the classroom. Working with saws and fire is still a little nerve racking.”

Do you plan to continue metalworking in the future?

“Yes! I am going to take Metals 2 next year if it’s available for me. I think [metalsmithing] is a form of art that I really enjoy, and it’s unique. The class really helps me focus on other things instead of school stuff like homework or tests. So, if I have a certain project in mind, it’s all I can think about. It’s nice to get out of your own head sometimes and just completely submerge yourself into a new creative project. Not to mention, seeing the outcome is satisfying.”

Freshman Tristen Chow created this metal pendant with numbers engraved in it in Metalsmithing 1. Chow enjoys making jewelry and smaller pieces. “I just think it’s simple and nice,” Chow said. (Credit: Tristen Chow )