The Delights of Learning Metalsmithing

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Creating a hollow form ring
Hollow Form Ring in Sterling
Starshine for the holidays
Assymetrical earrings
Selection of Hoop Earrings

There is no goal. Stay loose, let the process drive the idea.

My learning process

Most people at this beginner’s stage of learning a new medium would take a class, to glean knowledge from others, avoid mistakes, and learn “the right way” to do things. Haha, not me! There are few areas in life where we as productive members of society can feel like failure is a good thing, that exploration is the goal, not the product. Metalsmithing satisfies this aspect of creativity for me in a big way. Art in general has been very freeing for me historically. Things tend to fall apart when I tense up and feel like the goal (the body of work for a show, the “perfectly” finished painting) is more important than trying something new that may not be pretty but triggers an emotion or pulls a cord in me to now try this, now try that. Metalsmithing is somehow easier to access right now than painting.

Most people may not know this about me anymore, but I used to have a little side business creating and selling beadwork jewelry. Silver wire, semiprecious stone beads and sterling findings were my way to make something fun and beautiful, resulting in funds for painting supplies! Beadwork was pure satisfaction. If I liked it and would wear the jewelry I made, then someone else surely would feel the same! It was much easier to cross that bridge to someone’s heart and pocketbook than with abstract two-dimensional paintings made of wax and mixed media!

So now as I search for life’s balance, I return full circle: to metal jewelry- but a deeper dive than just beadwork. Soldering, sawing, hammering, sculpting are what delight me. I can use my experiences in the many media that I’ve learned to inform my jewelry. The paintings and how I identified myself over the previous decade are still in me, but time and inclination towards metalsmithing have grabbed a hold of me for now. Learning a new media has always informed my painting practice, so I am growing more excited to find out how this divergence will surface in my 2D work again. Stay tuned!