Materials: Mild steel with fine silver and 24K gold inlay
Dimensions: 9" diameter x 3" high
Machine spun steel bowl with damascene inlay
Photo credit: John Cameron
Vancouver, BC. Canada
I have been working as a goldsmith and metalsmith since 1993.
I have been fascinated with the combination of silver and gold with steel ever since I saw an exhibition of Japanese sword guards over 10 years ago. I later saw suits of armour inlaid with intricate patterns in a museum in Paris. These works of art seemed to represent a series of exquisite contrasts: hard and soft materials, base and precious metals, and the paradox of such delicate artistry used to decorate instruments of brutality and war. Once I started working with the technique, I began to see the possibility of taking it beyond jewellery, to bigger objects, and into the realm of fine art. The history and uses the technique itself create a dramatic tension in the work, imbuing it with a completely different set of references than those implicit in fine jewellery.
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.