This work is a reflection of my experience with the natural world and of what shapes and ideas I find meaningful. Many of the pieces have a southwestern feel to the extent that they are large and silvery but are not an attempt at any Native American style. Overlay, hammer texturing and forming, and forging are my preferred methods of work.
The personal rewards of making jewelry are, for me, three-fold.
First, the challenge and satisfaction of creating a design that looks good and just seems to work. Then developing the techniques and strategies necessary to make the piece. Last and best is when someone appreciates and derives meaning from something I have made.
Design characteristics that I am drawn to include contrast, rhythm, line, texture, and simplicity. Minimal designs engage people’s imagination, inviting their own ideas about a piece.
About the work
Silver overlay involves cutting out a design in a sheet of metal using a jeweler’s saw and then soldering that to another sheet of metal. The cut out area usually has a patina applied with liver of sulfur after the piece has been formed to the appropriate shape. I especially like overlay because of the strong contrast and limitless design opportunities.
Hammer texturing can have a variety of looks depending on the hammer used and how skillfully it is applied. My approach is to hit every spot once with a consistent stroke and then not remove too much of the texture during finishing. It’s all about how light interacts with the surface of the metal.
Many of my tools were inherited from grandfathers. Old hammers (often modified), files, punches, pliers, etc. litter my workbench and there is the obligatory large wooden stump which supports an anvil. These old tools feel great and perhaps convey some craft tradition.
The last step of making every piece is finishing and polishing. It’s the dirty and dangerous part of the job and often takes half of the total time required. But it’s necessary and important because silver is the most reflective material and shows not just its own surface but a reflection of everything around you.