My name is Sharon Smith and I am a Designer and Maker of Things, Physical and Digital
What does that mean?
I create things in both the digital and physical realms. I am equally comfortable bending both copper and CSS to my will. In short, I design web sites. I am a trained metalsmith. And I do both professionally. I rant about politics and current events, too, but that’s more of a hobby– except when it comes out in my artwork (as in my MFA Thesis Show).
When I first started studying metalsmithing, I also studied graphic design. I first started playing with web design around 2001, when I was dragged into it kicking & screaming as an “Accidental Tech.” Since July 2014, I’ve been bringing my Web Site Design skills up to date through the fantastic Code Oregon program, after spending most of the last twelve years earning both my Master of Arts and my Master of Fine Arts in Jewelry/Metalsmithing.
In regards to web design, I’m seriously focused on User Experience(UX). To me, UX is simply following the same functional design principles I use when creating jewelry or functional metalwork. I have a rather detailed essay explaining my design philosophy and how metalsmithing relates to it but the short version is that proper UX design follows the same functional design principles I use in my metalwork, just applied to a different technology. It doesn’t matter how pretty or flashy a website is if no one can figure how to get to the information they need or get from one page to another.
I am also very interested in the idea of wearable tech- specifically, how to take these fascinating technologies and design them in such a way that their aesthetic design is as well considered as their functions, if not more so. Rubber bands may look alright in the gym but they don’t look as nice with your little black dress. In other words, I want to make the tech look as cool on the outside as it is on the inside. I’m currently working up some designs for my little FitBit & will start posting pictures of my design process as I go along.
As a metalsmith, I spend my time in my studio pounding on metal, forming and shaping it into a variety of objects from production jewelry to one-of-a-kind statement pieces to functional hollowware to small-scale sculpture and what I think of as “Curiosities”. Feel free to browse through my various galleries to see what I’ve been up to. All the jewelry & metalwork on this site was designed and fabricated by me.
In My Spare Time…
Along with ranting about politics, I am very into original, indie, alternative, and punk bands and nearly always have music playing while I work. I love discovering new bands and could happily spend every night at a club. Current local Portland favorites are NTNT, Murderbait, and DeadCult– a group I first heard through the walls of my studio when they were playing the Lovecraft Bar, which happens to be next door.
I’m an avid reader and will read just about anything I can get my hands on. In fact, I told my family that the main reason I chose to move to Portland was so I could hang out in Powell’s. I wasn’t entirely joking. Mostly, I read a lot of general fiction, classic fiction, urban fantasy/magical realism/mythic fiction (think Neil Gaiman, Charles De Lint or the Dresden Files), speculative fiction, horror, nonfiction about folklore & mythology, social commentary, graphic design, art, web design, and history. Like I said, avid reader.
I am also obsessed with wombats. I have 2 “pet” wombats- plush stuffed animals, really- named Watson and Wanda, who kept me company in the long, sub-zero NoDak winters because my apartment building didn’t allow dogs.
Besides which, how could you not love these adorable little guys?