The inherent beauty of nature has always been John Iversen’s inspiration. His most well-known collection, “Hydrangea,” was created after he planted some of his own hydrangeas, the shrub known for its large, round flowerheads resembling pom poms.
John used the 18th Century technique of “nature casting” to create 18-karat gold versions of a few individual florets directly from the petals. The gold florets were then cast, produced in small quantities and designed as a collection of earrings, brooches, necklaces and bracelets, both in sterling silver and gold. Another popular collection based on the exquisite, petite boxwood leaf was created in the same manner.
Larger, one-of-a-kind leaf brooches are nature-cast in silver and gold. Because the leaves themselves are destroyed in the casting process, each is unique. John’s intent is not to recreate or copy nature, but to execute his concept of a piece of jewelry. His pieces all feature matte finishes with only subtle highlights and no gemstones. Although the jewelry looks simple and natural, it is often technically extraordinarily difficult to create, requiring significant intervention to give the illusion of complete naturalism.
John Iversen has been working in jewelry for more than 40 years. He was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, and received his training as a goldsmith in both Canada and Germany. He arrived in New York in 1976, where he joined many other young artists trying to find success. To support himself, he worked behind-the-scenes in commercial jewelry design, and spent his own time creating the pieces he loved. Through showings in small but important galleries, eventually the demand for his work became great enough that he was able to start his own studio.
Today John Iversen’s work is still available through a small number of galleries, and fine jewelers as well. Because his work is three-dimensional, the question of whether he is a sculptor or jeweler arises, but he has no interest in labels. Instead, as stated in American Craft magazine, “It may be enough to say that the traditional metalsmithing techniques Iversen learned in his native Germany have been put to use in a body of work that has the expressiveness of contemporary American art and design.”