“I love to hammer and work with fire. Metal comes alive, moving and changing as if It were a living organism. I’m able to explore the powerful physicality of myself while hammering, yet creating something beautiful. I love the feminine yet strong aspect of my work. I’m passionate about it.”
The biologist in Tatum wants to incorporate the living world in her work. Bugs, flowers and leaf shapes can be found in her designs. She searches the internet, books, and nature itself for ideas and images, sometimes plucking spent leaves or picking up dead bugs. The scientist in Tatum studies the processes and properties of metals, soldering and fabrication.
Chasing and repousse is Tatum’s medium of choice, studying with Fabrizio Acquafresca of Florence, Italy whose family have done chasing and repousse for over 300 years. She also travels to Boston and New York City to study other hammering techniques. Tatum works in Argentium silver and 18k gold.
After obtaining a BS in Biology, she was a stay-at-home mother for 25 years before working at the Oklahoma Aquarium with sharks and stingrays. Tatum wanted to explore her artistic side and asked her artist son advice on how to begin. He told her all art is simply “practice, practice, practice.” Tatum then found and attended a professional jewelry school to start her journey, and she plans to continue practicing for a very long time.