Eclipse - Holding Place

Materials: Copper, Sterling Silver, Gold Leaf, Palladium Leaf, Enamel Paint, Chrysoprase Gemstone
Dimensions: 8.25”H x 16.5”Dia.

A funerary urn

Photo credit: Robert Hickerson

Gina Westergard
Lawrence, Kansas. USA

This body of work is comprised of funerary urns and reliquaries. These functional objects have great significance to me. Death, which concludes all life, is a complex, often difficult subject to address. Its poignancy and mystery touch all. I strive to make contemplative vessels that celebrate a life that has passed and shelters an energy that continues.

My designs are inspired by the cycles of nature that symbolize the passage of time. Rich surfaces and vibrant colors evoke joy. The minimal, stately exterior of each piece gradually leads to more detailed and recessed interior space. Nestled within the interior of each object is an element that awaits discovery, representing new growth, renewal and an energy that continues.

Gina Westergard is currently an Associate Professor of Metalsmithing and Jewelry at the University of Kansas. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally for over twenty-five years.

These containers and vessels definitely hold their place in the world of stunning art objects as well as in the world of metalsmithing.

Since the dawn of time humans have created containers to hold things that were important to them, from large vessels to hold food and harvests to intimate containers for small precious things. They might hold memories, ashes, medicine, beverage, fruit or food - but all spring from the imagination and skill of the maker. Some have specific religious functions, some are meant for everyday use. When one thinks of a vessel or container the inclination is to think of something with solid walls - yet many of these works involve the exploration of positive and negative space, and the use of negative space to help create the illusion of the wall of the vessel.

As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner. Participants are from The Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Colombia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. While most of the pieces are by an individual metalsmith, some are collaborations, one of three artists spanning 50 years.

In total 319 artists contributed 729 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.

Objects in the exhibition include boxes, lockets, urns, ash containers, bowls, wine cups, reliquaries, match holders, vases, teapots, pitchers, sugar bowls, baskets, nests, pillboxes, clutches and a range of sculptural forms. A variety of techniques are showcased covering a wide range of metalsmithing techniques. Materials used include everything from gold and silver to less expensive metals. Ornamentation includes the addition of enamel, chasing and repousse’, gemstones and found objects.

The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.