Old Experiments, New Thoughts


This little piece has me so excited!  In my last post I wrote about looking for a community of makers and craftspeople.  While visiting Contemporary Craft for Mindful, I expressed this want to a few people who were able to point me in the direction of metalsmiths who teach or make at SCC’s studio.  I was happy to accept an invitation to attend a meeting of the very newly formed Allegheny Metals Club.  The particular meeting I was able to attend was a pinswap; how could I resist?!  A swap like this is a great way to meet people in my field, introduce myself and the work I make, and is the best way for me to make something (relatively) quickly.  Another jump-start project was in order!  I had some ideas swirling around in my brain that I hadn’t yet gotten out on paper, let alone in metal.


Those ideas started forming a few months ago when I was given a small gold ring to use for scrap because of a broken prong and missing stone.  There was something about the empty oval setting and the three remaining prongs that I found very intriguing.  I began to think about empty spaces within a jewelry context, their ambiguity, and their potential.  Is there a part missing, or is that space a placeholder?  Could the space eventually be filled, and for how long will it remain empty?  When paired with another element, I imagine these questions as a conversation, and I especially think of the question, “Is this seat taken?”

What could I pair with an empty seat to evoke the questions I had in my mind?  When I started looking through potential objects, I came across some experimental enameled tiles I made a few years ago.  Although the experiments, silver knots embedded in opaque enamel, never evolved past their sample-like nature, I never completely forgot them.  When I considered the questions I was asking, the enameled knot samples mirrored by an empty setting fit the bill.

The things that have me so excited are a handful of never-would-haves.  I never would have come to this composition when I first made the enamels, which in itself feels like an accomplishment that has been a long time coming.  There’s a feeling I wanted expressed, but it needed a few years to be realized a bit more accurately.  I am satisfied with this in part because I never would have used that setting for anything, and the decision to do that comes from thoughts and questions spurred by the little gold ring.  Finally, I never would have parted so easily with something I felt so good about.  However, I was making quickly and with the intention not to keep; I didn’t have the opportunity to become attached, as I so often do with my work.  The makings of successful endeavors on all fronts, I think!