Matthieu Cheminée > Artists > Matthieu Cheminée

Biography: I was born in Paris, France and at the age of 19 I moved to Taos, New Mexico where I started learning jewelry making from Navajo, Hopi and Zuni silversmiths. Seven years later I moved Mali, West Africa where I studied with Touareg and Bambara Jewelers for several years. I then established myself in Montreal where I joined a jewelry school to learn a more classical view of the trade. Since my arrival there I have been making jewelry and sellIng it in galleries and at shows throughout Canada and the United States. For the past seven years I have been teaching jewelry at a professional school.

For many years now, I have been working to give back to the West African jewelers who taught me and have given me so much. One of the ways I have been doing this is through a teaching collaboration. I have been filming old techniques in Guinea, Mali, Niger and
Burkina Faso and then creating a course from those videos. I offer these classes in Montreal and split the proceeds with the African jewelers. The revenue created by this equitable collaboration is leading to formidable changes in the lives of these wonderful and skillful jewelers.

I have also been giving many conferences on West African jewelers, their techniques and their day-to-day lives. My hope is to open a jewelry school in Guinea in the near future.

Artist Statement: I have a passion for ethnic techniques from around the world. I am fascinated with the know how, the transmission of the craft and the transformation of raw or recycled materials into beautiful ornaments by the gold and silversmiths of those different countries.

I started making a living as a jeweler by stamping traditional Navajo bracelets and Concha belts for Native American Indian jewelers. Stamping hold a special place in my heart… It is a technique that can be done anywhere, the stamps can be made with any piece of steel such as old files which the Navajo transformed and used on silver dollars. It is also a technique used all across Africa. Most of the time the design is a geometrical shape and used as an accent to decorate the metal. It can be a line or just few motifs here and there. I have been using this technique for over 20 years and created my own form of stamping by creating patterns that filled the entire pIece of metal. Over the years my stamped designs have evolved and my recent pieces are made of. those patterns that are anticlastic shaped into bracelets or rings. To me, “stampclastic” as I call it pays homage to all the jewelers around the world that can transformany old pIece of steel Into tools or any piece of metal into beautiful jewelry.

Find Matthieu’s work here.