Maker's Mark - Holding Place

Materials: Copper; raised, etched, enameled, patinated.
Dimensions: 3.5" x 3.5" x 1.5"

Made in 2011.

Photo credit: self

Melissa Renae Grady
Modern Mettle Studio
Denton, TX. USA

In the spring of 2012, I graduated from college with a BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry. Although jewelry in particular is a relatively new interest of mine, I have always been good with my hands. I grew up playing video games with my sister, and later picked up jazz and swing as an avid saxophonist. What these two things have in common is the regular conditioning of muscle memory and reflexes. I enjoyed the many hours of practice because it allowed me to develop a dexterity and finesse which, in turn, left me with a feeling of accomplishment for having mastered whatever goal I had been working on.

As I become more friendly with regular commission work, I have discovered that I really enjoy presenting people with something I made that gives them happiness. Adornment is used to define the image individuals project of themselves into the world, and jewelry choices for oneself or loved ones are a very personal affair. I very much like the idea that the service I provide is helping people cultivate their own sense of style while wearing something unique and beautiful that belongs to no one else in the world but them.

Now that I have completed my formal studies and taken some time off to decompress, in 2013 I am focusing on developing my new body of work into something more refined: elegant but playful and suitable for everyday wear.

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.