The Art of Metalsmithing Exposed
Curated by steve shelby
“The view from my apartment window in Oakland, California overlooks the bay. From my perch, I can easily see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, San Francisco, the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. I see the weather change, clouds drifting in, fog seeping under the Golden Gate slowly flowing in all directions. I have documented many sunsets over the years; some with intense hues of purple, orange and pink, others clean and clear with bright orange fading out as night creeps in.”
Evolution of Joy
“In my most recent series, The Evolution of Joy, a biomedical timeline unfolds
showing an egg being fertilized by a sperm and becoming a human baby. There are
12 separate copper pieces that reflect a different phase of in utero life. These pieces
are meant as a celebration of the body and creation of life. I feel closely related to
this piece as it percolated in my mind while pregnant, and each piece was lovingly
shaped by the love of my own child. I feel that as my work continues to grow, each
piece teaches me to touch, respond, and receive. I hope to understand my own
humanness by using my work as a conduit into the self.”
Theater of the Sea #2
“The sea teems with life, most of it hidden beneath the waves, a living theater. This brooch showcases the hidden life of the sea, staged as it might be in a portable puppet theater production. Just as actors perform stories in a theater, the sea creatures here live out their stories, directed by the wearer, in the Theater of the Sea. It includes numerous removable wearable elements, and allows the user to “re-stage” the “theater”, moving pieces between multiple hangings. This piece explores my love of the sea, of the theater, and of multi-functional objects. It is informed both by years spent near the ocean, and by years helping backstage at theaters.”
Betty Helen Longhi
Growth: The Evidence of Life is Growth
“I had not made a sculpture with forming for a long time but I have loved getting back into it. I found that pewter was the ideal material for forming because it is so easy to form. You just have to learn how to protect the surface and avoid making hammer marks. I am so thankful for the opportunity to make this piece and open this kind of work again. Thanks to Steve Shelby, and The Art Link Contemporary Gallery.”
-Betty Helen Longhi
“This work could not be produced without the fabrication assistance of many wonderful artisans in the village of Santa Clara del Cobre in the Mexican state of Michoacan. I am grateful for their willingness to work with me to fulfill my visions.
Thanks also to Jorge Pellicer, author of Artisanos del Futuro (Artists of the Future) for the image of artisans splitting an ingot.
Final image photo is by Petronella Ytsma, St. Paul, MN”
“I use a combination of methods to create my jewelry vessels. These includes ‘die forming’, where I make a form out of acrylic into which a sheet of sterling silver is pressed using a machine called a hydraulic press. I also use jewelry hammers and stakes to further form, refine and /or alter the shape of the vessel. The photos below illustrate these processes.”
Luminous Relic #1695
“So where we are starting for this piece is a couple courses into the chasing work. I had already laid out and chased in the larger partial circle type shapes. That took two rounds of lining and pushing back the broad planes to sculpt it into the initial series of plateaus. I’ve also already chased in the shell-like shapes on many of these sections. What I’m going to go over is the various tools I’m using as I develop just one small section. This is what I repeat over and over for each section.”
Di-Ann pitts hand
“After treatments and during recovery from my illness, I needed to reflect on what my legacy would be. How would my work and life story influence the next person to use my tools? I rattled around my studio wondering, “What now?”. The answer came when Oddly enough my daughter nonchalantly asked me to make her two sterling silver goblets for her wedding. Knowing that was a huge challenge for any metalsmith let alone a recovering survivor, I just laughed at her. Later, roaming around in my studio lost in reflection, I ended up mulling over the idea and it grew on me. I decided that since I was going to live after all, it would be a great way to get my mind and body back into working order, and to start building my legacy.
I present these matched pair of hand raised sterling silver Wedding Goblets as the first stepping stone on my path to finding my own voice as a metalsmith and designer with a tiny bit of Zen.”
-Di-Ann Pitts Hand
Don and Louise Coulson
Walk in the Woods
“Walk in the Woods” is a copper bowl chased and raised then presented on a mild steel engraved pedestal. The design was inspired by a walk in the woods in the Fall of the year. It is dedicated to Sarah James, who can no longer see, but can feel the textures.
“Walk in the Woods” is 14” wide and weighs nearly 3 pounds. The bowl is 14 -gauge copper and the pedestal is 14 gauge mild steel. It took more than 25,000 hammer blows to create the design and shape the bowl. The piercing, chasing and design in the bowl were done by Louise. Don designed, engraved and assembled the pedestal to bring the final piece, “Walk in the Woods”, together.
”I create things mainly as a wry response to images which amuse me; sometimes I even make art.
I like metal because it is so plastic. It easily takes a form and holds it. It can be edited. It can be added to, subtracted from, stretched, shruck, re-positioned and decorated with color and texture.”
Genevieve E. Flynn
Taro Leaves & Dragonfly Bud Case
“Taro Leaves and Dragonfly Bud Vase Dragonflies have always intrigued and inspired me. Throughout the summer I watch, from my workbench window, the life cycle of dragonflies that come to my pond. From their maneuvering abilities, to the translucency of the wings and the colors of their bodies and eyes. The concept of the vase comes from my adoration of antique bud vases that graced the tables of the Victorian and Art Nouveau eras. Fabricated from Argentium silver and sterling silver, the vase incorporates cold forging of the stems enveloping the base, chasing and repoussé embellishing the surface of the vase, saw piercing the wings of the dragonfly as well as areas in the body of the vase. The custom, glass blown insert is the “icing” on the vase permitting it to be a decorative and a functional object.”
-Genevieve E. Flynn
Harlan W. Butt
Rattlesnake Vessel #6
Jack da Silva
“Individual events may create ripples that extend outward, each crisscrossing as one path overlays another. I have become fascinated with how these energies can become amplified when occurring in unison. Tangents explores these possibilities by suspending the moment in time as these energies come together. From one path to the next, the form arises through the malleability of metal as worked by hand to capture the energy as they evolve and unify. These coexist and expand as a synergy of the artists' vision, the material's resilience, the handling of the tools and techniques as they come together.”
-Jack da Silva
“Nudibranchs, also known as sea slugs, are known by their popular name of “jewels of the sea.” They are carnivorous and there are many, many varieties across the world’s seas, varieties of colors, shapes and methods for poisoning their prey. The name “nudibranch” literally means “naked branchia or lung” and refers to the external branch like apparatus on the dorsal surface.”
“I became interested in the art of jewelry making at an early age, my father was a silversmith and lapidary artist. Although I never had the chance to work with my dad, working with the materials and developing my skills as a maker gives me a sense of closeness with him. My work is hand fabricated using various hot and cold metal techniques, experimenting with textures and forms evocative of nature and the surreal with contrasting minimalistic architectural elements. My body of work, created mostly in silver and gold, has a modern and contemporary aesthetic that is uniquely balanced with textures, finishes and forms found in nature.”