Kris Patzlaff received her MFA from Southern Illinois University /Carbondale and is currently the head of the Jewelry and Small Metals Program at Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California. She has been working in metal for over 35 years, in both a large and small-scale format. Her jewelry work has been exhibited internationally and has appeared in numerous publications. In 2002, she completed a large-scale public art piece entitled “The Fence”. Completed entirely from materials pulled from the waste stream, this 750-foot fence surrounds the Humboldt Waste Management Authority transfer station in Eureka, California. Patzlaff is also a past President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. Patzlaff’s 3-demensional work includes box collage constructions that incorporate found and collected objects. These mixed media works are inspired by her interest in “memorial art” and how our culture deals with loss. It is the intention of these objects, to memorialize forgotten activities of our culture, moments that are obscured by time, and tributes to people. Although these works may be considered personal in nature, they encourage the viewer to find associations with the objects that provoke their own memories. Patzlaff explores carving acrylic, cast resin, printed silver and found objects in her jewelry work. She works in a series format, exploring concepts with in a group of pieces. In her found object work she explores how seemingly mundane objects, when reframed, can create a sense of preciousness or wonder to the object. In her most recent series of necklaces entitled “Curios”, she carves acrylic to represent coral, branches and stones with the intention to develop a connection with the viewer/wearer that speaks to how we associate personal experiences with the jewelry we wear. Combined with formed and fabricated silver components, these assemblage jewelry pieces are talismanic in nature and create a subtle element of sound. Patzlaff’s work exhibits her passion for working in a variety of materials and her developed skill and craftsmanship. Her work is resolved and intentional, with a bit of obsessiveness thrown in.
Patzlaff is concerned with human activities and their impact on the environment. Referring to herself as an "object-maker" rather than a "conceptual artist," she has worked for many years as a crafter of fine jewelry. Recently, Patzlaff has become more and more interested in the various cast-off items she collects.