Casting has always been my favorite metalsmithing process. It was during experimentation with free casting aluminum that I came to discover and appreciate aluminum as a material of unexpected beauty.
I employ scrap aluminum such as aluminum cans, gutters, ladders and car parts as source material for my work. I melt and pure aluminum in my backyard using “free casting “ techniques without any preconceived form, letting it solidify freely using a homemade furnace.
I am mesmerized by the fact that a material can change so drastically from smooth and industrial in appearance to an intriguing organic form with a delicate texture. It is as if during recycling an object not only assumes a second life but reveals its true identity. The beauty of the surface which emerges when molten aluminum is poured fascinates me. It reminds me of rebirth and soul transformation which inspire me the most.
Over the years I’ve come up with several techniques for cold connecting aluminum. Piercing aluminum parts and stitching them to leather has become my primary process and visual language for expressing my ideas. This peculiar connecting technique bears a special meaning to me, showing that hard and soft materials don’t necessarily have to contradict each but rather can be intertwined and represent two sides of the same entity. Just like tendons and ligaments in the human body connect bones and tissue, my cotton or copper threads unite aluminum parts with each other or with fibrous materials creating a common body for my newly born artistic creation.
Olga Starostina is a Houston based Jewelry / Mixed Media artist. Starostina studied metalsmithing at the Glassell School of Art under Sandie Zilker. She is currently a full-time studio artist in Houston, TX. Starostina has exhibited throughout the United States Canada and Mexico at the Franz Mayer Museum, Mexico City, Mexico, Indiana University, Kokomo, Indiana, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA, SNAG, Toronto, Canada, Equinox Gallery, San Antonio, TX, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX, and the Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX. Starostina’s work is in a number of private collections throughout Texas.