Santa Fe artist and jeweler Stefani Courtois always had a sketchbook nearby. Inspired by her own imagination and the New Mexico landscape, she incessantly sketched images that would make their way into her powerful artworks. Courtois has been with form & concept from our inception and passed away in April 2017.
“Anytime Stefani was out in nature, she was usually by herself,” recalls Abe Marin, the artist’s life partner. “She was influenced by visual stimulus like landscapes and different plants or flowers, and later by birds and their wings.” Though Courtois explored a wide range of mediums and materials, she invariably returned to visions of nature imbued with a powerful feminine energy.
Courtois grew up in Northern California, and always had a strong creative drive. She maintained collections of small, beautiful objects and always took art classes at school. This passion carried into her adult life. “Stefani was almost always enrolled in an art or jewelry class at the community college,” says Marin. Early in her artistic career, Courtois made a series of papier-mâché masks while visiting the Greek island of Cypress. “She had a show, which was a great success,” Marin recalls.
After exploring many different artistic techniques and mediums, Courtois leapt headfirst into contemporary jewelry design as a primary pursuit in 2006. For a number of years, she maintained a small workshop in a former nun’s convent that had been converted into artist studios. The space housed a formidable library of her sketchbooks. “She’d see things and then sketch them, and from there the idea was conceptualized,” says Marin. “She had dozens of sketchbooks with tons of ideas inside of them.”
“Stefani could catch a glimpse of a bird in flight, and distill its graceful motion into wearable artworks made from precious metals and gemstones,” says Clara Holiday, Sales Director at form & concept.“
She knew there is always more to learn, new roads to explore, and challenges to face. What was remarkable about Stefani was her passion for creation. She knew that in order to fuel her creative fire, she constantly challenged herself to learn and grow, to become a master of her craft. And ultimately, the goal of mastery for her was the ability to give back, to inspire, to teach, and to share the beauty, imagination and intensity of her creative spark.