Sigrun Simons-Rank is an instructor in Jewelry in the Small Metal Department, Wingate Art School at the Fine Arts Museum in Little Rock since 2016 (formerly the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School). A native of Germany, she met her future husband while vacationing in Norway in July 1982. Their meeting above the Arctic Circle is reflected in the name of her business Midnight Sun Jewelry. She immigrated to the USA in July 1986 and became a citizen in 2018, residing in Little Rock with her husband for over 30 years. Through friends she was introduced to the Arts Center Museum School where in 1996, she started continuously attending jewelry classes and workshops, studying basic jewelry skills, such as making findings, multiple techniques in stone settings, construction of rings, pendants and pins. Furthermore, more specific techniques were taught - such as Keum Boo, enameling, stone cutting, form folding copper and silver, marriage of metal, Viking weave, brass and silver etching, and various casting techniques that included lost wax casting, sand casting, broom casting, cuttlebone, rock salt casting, and water casting.
“As a result of my experience in the Visual Arts course at UALR, I gained an understanding of how a piece of art can evoke certain feelings. In addition, my mentor, the late Billy Pepples, taught me to let a stone or the metal “talk to me.” In general, my unique creations are based on symmetry, balance, and harmony between all materials; moreover, my interaction with the material is a major component in my creative process. I observe a cast piece or gemstone’s form, size, and color, and I let the stone or casting guide and inspire me. I might have a basic idea for a jewelry piece; however, during the creative process, my piece might change in size, style, or purpose; for example, a pendant can become a pin with additional wire work and stone. The materials used in my work are mainly sterling silver, some gold for Keum Boo, and at times I might use copper or brass for form folding or etching. In stone setting, I have been using tube setting, prong and bezel setting or a combination of both.”
Since 2016, she has been sharing her knowledge as an instructor for Intermediate Jewelry classes, Casting Techniques, and Intro to Lapidary at the Wingate Art School/Arts Center Museum School. As a participant of the annual Arts Center Museum School Sale, she has been able to show her work from 1999 through 2019. Since 2018 her jewelry has been shown at the Terra Art Gallery in Dublin, Ohio while demonstrating Sand and Cuttlebone casting. In addition, since 2019 she has been a visiting instructor at Glass Axis in Columbus, Ohio where she teaches jewelry techniques to glass artists, using their glass cabochons and beads to make jewelry.
At the invitation of the Northeast Arkansas Visual Arts League (NEVAL), Jonesboro, she taught workshops in Copper and Brass etching, and Colored Pencil on Copper, Cuttlebone casting and Sand casting to their members.