Since 2013 Bette Barnett has devoted her work to exploring and experimenting with steel and gold. Bette began her jewelry career in 2010 and subsequently studied with the late Chris Nelson through his advanced workshops in fusing gold to steel. Since then Bette has perfected additional techniques and processes for steel, including Keum Boo on steel, steel wire fused with gold, alternative alloys for fusing such as shibuichi and shakudo, fusing metal powders to steel, etching steel and fusing gold to non-traditional mild steel forms, such as steel wire and perforated steel sheet. Bette is focusing much of her current work on Keum Boo on steel, an area that is virtually unexplored among western artists.
In recognition of her work, the Santa Fe Symposium selected Bette to create a research paper on steel jewelry. The paper entitled “Steel Jewelry—Expanding the Horizons of Steel with Gold” was to have been presented at the May conference had it not been postponed due to the quarantine. Bette has also published articles on steel and gold jewelry in Lapidary Journal: Jewelry Artist.