Richard Mawdsley earned a B.S. degree in education in 1967 at Kansas State Teachers College and an M.F.A. in 1969 at the University of Kansas. He has taught metalsmithing at the University of Kansas, the Wichita Art Association, Illinois State University, and since 1978 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. A member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, Mawdsley has served as its president and as a member of the board of directors.
Mawdsley is fascinated by the precious metals crafted in Europe centuries ago. He preserves this tradition by making intricately designed and meticulously crafted objects and jewelry using precious metals and stones. Mawdsley's works are also inspired by his childhood interest in machinery. While spending summers on his grandfather's farm in Kansas, Mawdsley came across many old pieces of equpiment, including a 1926 combine that has influenced the design and shape of many of his objects.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)
As a child, Richard Mawdsley spent many summers playing around aging machinery on his grandfather’s Kansas farm. He states that an antique combine inspired the metal tubing that appears in many of his jewelry designs. He attended the University of Kansas, where he studied metalsmithing with Carlyle Smith. Mawdsley works mostly with silver and gold and feels that precious metals and gemstones are important for preserving the tradition of jewelry. He draws his subject matter from flowers, mythology, architecture, and his experiences in the Midwest.