Materials have distinct characteristics and responses to the hand. They react to process, to weather, to time, and to wear each in their own way.
Metal is my material of choice. Its malleability and claylike body invite forming and mark making, yet there is a substantial resistance and an inherent stiff refusal to move. It is a dance that I find captivating.
My jewelry pieces often contain many layers and look as if they could have been excavated from an ancient civilization. These layers of materials are compounded by process and technique—metaphors for the ways in which we, as humans, are shaped and formed by the layers of experience in our own lives. It’s what breathes life into the piece of jewelry and links the wearer to its meaningful story.
A high standard of craftsmanship, the dialogue of crude roughness paired with refined materials and elements, as well as attention to detail, all create the opulent, timeless beauty found in my jewelry. My tools—many old, bearing flaws and blemishes—impart some of their own history as they are employed in the making process.
For more than twenty-two years, I have been living and working year round on Deer Isle in Maine and feel compelled to remain in this creative community surrounded by other artists who strive for—and achieve—excellence in so many ways.
“Jewelry combining gold and steel pit the emotional rawness of one metal against the mellow elegance of another. The result is a tension in aesthetic and historical terms. I feel an interweaving of medieval European steel work with the generosity of gold smithing. It’s a compelling position from which to make an object, one that has force and beauty.” –Philip Isaacson, Portland Press Herald Art Critic
Robin Cust is a studio jeweler living on Deer Isle, where she arrived in 1991 to serve an apprenticeship with metalsmith, Ronald Hayes Pearson. This apprenticeship continued until Pearson’s death in 1996.
Prior to moving to Deer Isle, she earned a BS in Industrial Technology from Appalachian State University in 1985, and continued studies in metalsmithing at Arrowmont School in Tennessee, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle and Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.
Robin’s work has been accepted into Smithsonian Craft Show, Philadelphia Museum Show, Washington Craft Show, and American Craft Council Shows. She has also been featured in several Lark Crafts publications, including 21st Century Jewelry – The Best of the 500 Series, Ornament Magazine, and Metalsmith Magazine.