Sunday, June 12, 2011

The gifts of the metalsmiths

I first saw handcrafted artisan jewelry in a really cool boutique in Tampa when I was a teenager, in the late 1960s. I was surprised to find jewelry that spoke to me (though I couldn't afford it then), and that wasn't as traditional as 'fine jewelry,' nor as disposable as costume jewelry.

Right then, I knew I wanted to figure metals out. It was two decades in my future before I made a serious try.

I also loved beadwork and began my jewelry career there. But, ultimately, I evolved into a metalsmith with the help of a very supportive local community.

I have found, through this medium, the stuff with which to express my ideas. I could not have gotten here alone. It's taken a 'village' of really brilliant women who have unveiled the secrets of metals to me. And practice, lots of practice!

Now that I am listing my metals pieces on my Etsy shop and have joined an Etsy team called 'Aspiring Metalsmiths,' I again feel a great community of talented artists in my life. I hope to feature some of these on this blog in the near future. You will be amazed at what they create. And I hope it inspires you to collect these wonderful works and to become knowledgeable about metalsmithing!

Above is a photo of my funky earrings which feature etched-copper plumbing tubes sliding on sterling chains. Marvelous metalsmith Fae Mellichamp shared her knowledge of chemical etching on copper tubing and her copper tube beads which are etched and enameled are gorgeous. She taught a class in my town a number of years ago. These are etched from original drawings I made on the surface of the copper.

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