TRENDER: Photographer + Jeweler Nancy Reid Carr

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


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Nancy Reid Carr has been expressing her artistry through a bold new medium of aluminum cuffs and prints.

Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today's Trender is Nancy Reid Carr, a Rhode Island photographer and jewelry maker that draw on Rhode Island and New England scenery to express emotion in beautiful prints and jewelry. GoLocal sat down with her to talk about what it’s like being an artist in RI and how Carr is setting trends.

You studied art at URI and have worked as an artist for 15 years. What made you decide to be an artist?

I was not raised in a very creative environment, but from a very early age it was obvious to me that I needed an outlet. I began writing poetry and eventually went to Roger Williams University to pursue a degree in Creative Writing. It was there that I took my first photography class, and it changed my life.

It was the outlet that I had been looking for and thanks to the encouragement of my first professor, Providence photographer Denny Moers, I threw myself into it and never looked back. After that, I couldn't imagine living a life doing anything else. It was later at URI studying with Professor Annu Matthew that I finally completed my degree & learned the discipline and dedication that I needed to work professionally.

How has RI inspired your artwork?

Living in Rhode Island, the ocean has obviously been a constant source of inspiration to me. I love the idea that photographing the beach at sunrise is a mandatory part of my job description. Also, my fellow artists and crafters have been a huge source of inspiration. I've never lived anywhere where I see so many creative people successfully pursuing their art form. As an artist, witnessing others succeed is incredibly encouraging and it makes you believe you can do it too.

You produce photographs and jewelry. What medium did you start working with first and how have you grown over time?

I worked in jewelry first, mostly bead work and assembly. Then after discovering photography I dropped out of RWU and moved to Santa Fe, where I studied photography and metalsmithing simultaneously. I was always interested in the relationship between photography and metal. Before the current technology, I was printing on film and mounting it on aluminum and tin. It wasn't until this year that I merged the two mediums. Now that technology has made it possible to print on pretty much any surface the options are endless. The aluminum cuffs are just the beginning for me; I am excited to expand upon my jewelry line in the near future.

You work in many mediums, including aluminum prints. Can you tell me more about this technique?

My images are printed on sheets of brushed aluminum using highly adhesive inks that are then heat cured onto the metal. The whites and lighter values get little or no ink and it is in these areas that the metal shows through, giving the print a luminous three dimensional quality. I have been working with this technique for almost five years now and it has changed the way I shoot and what I look for in terms of light, value, and composition. The effect of the aluminum give the images a very lifelike feel; you really must see it in person to understand.

Tell me more about how you go about making your jewelry.

I start by designing the cuffs in Photoshop using small portions of my original photographs. I print them on paper and cut them out to see how each design will fall on the wrist. The designs I deem successful that are then printed onto aluminum using a slightly different method from the prints. The aluminum stock for the bracelets is much smoother and is coated with a special emulsion that receives the ink through a heat transfer process. The inks are basically fused into the coating on the aluminum which also happens to be scratch resistant, which is great for wearable art.

I recently had the honor of designing four cuffs for the George Eastman House Museum utilizing NASA imagery to be included in their current SPACE exhibition running through January 12, 2014.

What's the best part about being an artist in RI?

The very best part is being surrounded by so many creative people. I believe that Rhode Island has such a large population of artists because it recognizes the importance of art and exercises strong support for it in the community. This is reflected most recently in the statewide tax free arts legislation. An action like that makes me very proud of the little state we live in. Feeling that your passion is valid and supported is a very powerful thing. I am also very thankful for the love and support of my husband, oil painter R. Michael Carr and our two daughters who are always eager to help in the “family business”.

Where can people find and buy your work?

My work can be found in the following RI retailers and online at

For a complete listing of US retailers please visit:

Studio Hop - Providence
Craftland - Providence
Rhody Craft - Pawtucket
Greenwich Gallery - East Greenwich
JW Graham - Wickford
Curiosity & Mischief - Narragansett
Shell Boutique - Narragansett
Primavera - Newport
Simple Pleasures - Charlestown

Do you have any upcoming galleries, festivals, or plans that RIers should know about?

11/23-11/24 - Arts In RI Handmade Holiday in the Red Barn - 30 Middle Rd, East Greenwich, RI
11/23-11/24 - Wellesley Marketplace, 50 Kingsbury St, Wellesley, MA
11/30-12/24 - Deblois Gallery Holiday Show, 134 Aquidneck Avenue, Middletown, RI
11/30-12/01 - Hingham Shipyard Holiday Market, 24 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA
12/05-12/15 - Foundry Artist Association Holiday Show - 172 Exchange Street, Pawtucket, RI
12/14-12/15 - SoWa Holiday Market - 41 Berkeley St, Boston, MA


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