Engagement Dish - Holding Place

Materials: Thurmanite, silver
Dimensions: 5" x 5" x 4"

Inspired by the Turkish tradition of giving candy as part of a wedding engagement, I made this dish to give to my fiancée, with etched drawings of hers combined with our fascination with UFOs.

Photo credit: James Thurman

James Thurman
University of North Texas.
Denton, Texas. USA

For more than ten years, I have been exploring a process of using epoxy resin to create a composite material made of layered recycled paper, now called “Thurmanite.” I find both the conceptual as well as the aesthetic aspects of this material compelling, particularly as a material for jewelry and vessels. Throughout human history, we have adorned ourselves and enhanced our daily lives with materials found in our surroundings and I am interested in continuing that tradition. In pieces with Thurmanite made from solid colored papers, the material seems to be a lightweight and colorful stone of unknown origins, inviting further exploration. In pieces with Thurmanite made from maps, the physical layers of the maps represent the conceptual layering of our life experiences through ur daily travels. I have continued to explore the combination of Thurmanite? with more traditional metalworking techniques and particularly enjoy the creative problem-solving inherent in the necessary cold connections to join the disparate materials together. It is my goal that my jewelry and vessels are beautiful, wearable, and thought-provoking.

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.