Although most folks would say I am in a creative field, it is actually hard to break away from the demands of fulfilling commissions (and teaching) to do new or exploratory work - i.e. stuff I'm not getting paid for! Recently I did manage to do that, and I have SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) and Halstead to thank. Last fall I made the easy decision to sign up for their competition "Hidden." It works like this - enter for a modest fee, receive a box of goodies in the mail, make a piece with said goodies (plus a found object) on the theme 'hidden' by a deadline, hopefully be chosen to have your piece included in the exhibition in May. And what jeweler wouldn't want to receive a delicious box full of shiny things?? The box came last fall, and it sat on my bench, predictably, until weeks before the deadline. It lurked there, mocking me as the deadline grew closer. Finally guilt prompted me to get busy - the kits were sold out, there were people on their waitlist, how awful would it be to waste the kit??
As a mokume person, I was so happy to open the kit and find nice thick sheets of copper and brass - just waiting to be chopped up, stacked and squeezed into a billet. Those were the easy ingredients to use. Harder were the less familiar bits - most notably the sterling silver screen, the delicate chains, the tiny silver beads. I ended up using 11 of the 17 items, but I admit the beads are still in their little bag. Having pre-cut metal parts like the copper washer and silver teardrop shape was novel and certainly influenced the design process. And I discovered I could indeed sweat-solder onto perforated silver screen without melting it - that was empowering.
Well - there's lots I could say about the meaning of the piece, but I'll leave that for another time. If you feel like it, have a look at the video so you can see the 'hidden' inside and found object, and let me know what you think the piece is about. Oh, and wish me luck! If it is accepted, it will go to Portland for a SNAG-related exhibition.
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.