Nate Plocharczyk, a sophomore at Johnson State College majoring in the Wellness and Alternative Medicine program, has been practicing the art of wire wrapping since November 2014. Entirely self-taught, Plocharczyk spends hours making his own hand-made wire-wrapped jewelry. Using a combination of metal wire and natural rocks and crystals, Plocharczyk creates a variety of one-of-a-kind intricate pieces of wearable art in the form of necklace pendants and rings. Plocharczyk sells his handmade art in person at art festivals and takes custom requests from friends, family, and anyone else who desires a unique piece of wire art. On a sunny afternoon, Basement Medicine sat down outside with Plocharczyk to find out what inspires and fuels his artistic expressions, and learn how his complex designs are reflective of his unique personality and thoughtful perspective on life.

Who are you?

I’m Nate Plocharczyk, first and foremost. I currently go to Johnson State College and enjoy myself here while being completely withdrawn from the rest of society inside the mountains. I’m really into beautiful sunny days, such as this. I really like to be outside most of the time and whenever I can, because I feel like there is this sense of purity and freedom associated with being able to run around outside, so I like to stay active. My favorite color is purple. I can’t say that I don’t like other colors, because I don’t want to leave any of them out. I like wonder and mystery and things that assume the unusual. I like having conversations with people because everyone knows something you don’t. Being able to wander is what I enjoy most, because it gives me a greater sense of freedom. I love live music. I think that live music is such a great way to bring people together, and that’s why it’s beautiful. Nobody cares how weird you get. In the summer, I like to find my home in tents, whether in the middle of the woods or among five-thousand other people at a music festival.

What was your childhood like?

I’m from Glens Falls, New York, which is upstate New York, right in the heart of the Adirondacks. So I was surrounded by mountains my whole life. As a kid I was very lively and very animated. I was called No-No-Nate because I was always getting into things I shouldn’t. My childhood was fun, to say the least. I started early with skateboarding and snowboarding, when I was about five, so that occupied me. I spent countless hours skateboarding outside my house. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the grass and in the dirt near the flowers outside, too.

What is wire wrapping?

Wire wrapping is an ancient art-form. For a long period of time when I was first wire wrapping, I was convinced it was something new because I wasn’t familiar with the art-form, so I didn’t know about its history. But after doing some curious research, I learned that wire wrapping dated back to 1400 B.C. They have found a lot of samples of the wire wrapping in the tombs of pharaohs in Egypt. I use a combination of metal and crystal, two materials from the earth, to create my handmade jewelry, straight from my cerebral cortex.

When did you start doing wire art?

It’s going on a year and a half since I started practicing my art. When I started, it was one of those things where I went home for break and I was really bored and went and just picked up wire from the craft store. Since the first wire wrap I made, I definitely became absolutely amazed by the possibilities that came from wire wrapping, not just from the piece but from the people I’d meet because of it.

What or who inspires your wire wrapping art?

The way my pieces come into fruition is just from an internal expression of frequency in movement and form in my mind. It’s all of the abstract things that I think of daily. I like to challenge myself when it comes to wire wrapping. Not necessarily challenge, but to see how far I can get with the form, how far I can really push the art. So nature has a huge inspiration on my art. When I walk around the forest I like to observe different forms. There seems to be this flow in nature where you can see true form. I feel like that’s where my pieces derive from. I feel like my pieces come from the natural world.

What’s your favorite thing about making wire art?

The solitude. To have the opportunity to be able to do and think whatever I want, whenever I want. There is an internal freedom when you’re able to express yourself in the pure form. To not have the influence of others around you is freeing. To have the freedom to express what I want with no limitation, freedom to do what I want with the wire. The hours and hours of music and contemplation. I always listen to music while working. There is Zen to it.

Have you faced any difficulties, such as artist’s block, with your work?

Yeah. Sometimes I get into these weird funks. As freeing as it is, it can get overwhelming. Because of so many possibilities, I’m unable to make up my mind on what I want to do because of all of these ideas that I have. There are points where I try to wrap and yet I don’t feel the flow. But I can’t force it because it’s not gonna turn out the way I want. It’s something you have to be patient with. What I like to do is take a step back and breathe and not try to overthink it. Normally to cure that, I’ll either distract myself with music or go and find inspiration through a nice walk or a brief meditation to get back to that place of flow, that place that proliferates my creativity.

What is your happy place and favorite place to work?

When it’s warm out and I’m in the forest. I go straight to the forest and set up my hammock and jam “The Doors” or whatever I’m feeling like. Other times, when I can’t do that all the time, such as during the winter, I have no problem sitting at my desk surrounded by music, just me and the music. There is something so mystical to it.

What is your favorite piece you’ve made?

I don’t think I have a favorite piece. I can’t say I have one because each piece has a different meaning and a different feel to it, because they each express different meanings and feelings from in the mind. So I really like to think of my pieces as representing my different internal states that were brought into the tangible world.

What are some of your other favorite hobbies?

Poetry, skateboarding, snowboarding, wandering, and definitely chemistry. And transient states. I enjoy drinking good craft beer; my favorite is Otter Creek. I also love going to music festivals. I love “The Doors.”

How do you find your own state of peace?

I feel like the whole time I’m making wire wraps, I’m in my own state of peace. I feel it’s a realm where I can go to be centered. It’s my favorite place because of the abstract and the creativity and things going on in my brain. All of it is a meditation for me. There are a lot of things you learn after sitting there for 20 hours straight with only yourself to talk to. It can either be very scary or very enlightening.

What do you love most about JSC?

I love the people here and the people that I’ve met. I don’t think I could’ve gone anywhere else to be able to meet the type of people I’ve met. I feel like there is a really good sense of community here and a really nice open atmosphere, where it allows students to feel comfortable. You want to be able to set yourself up for success, and it’s cool that students here help each other out. I love the timeless, quaint days of Johnson.

If you could keep only three of your possessions, what would they be?

Awww, man. First thing, if I went anywhere, I’d bring Space Case, which is my bed pillow that I’ve had for a real long time. It’s got outer space pattern on it and it is all beat up. That would go with me. I think that another thing that would go with me is the Switchback I have waiting for me, because after I finish it I could use the bottle for water. And then a pencil. Because if I couldn’t write or was unable to express myself in the form of writing, I would go insane. I think if I didn’t have a pencil, things would be very bad.

Do you have any advice for others artists, particularly jewelry artists?

“Break on through to the other side!” That would be my advice. There is a huge realm of possibilities after you break down those walls.