Morning Light memory box - Holding Place

Materials: sterling silver, turquoise, fossil ivory, chrysoprase, lemon chrysoprase
Dimensions: 1" x 1" x 3/4"

A box with hinged clasp to hold memories of the morning light in the mountains of New Mexico and the travels there with my mother who is now having struggles with her memories - first in a series of three constructed as a reminder of our journey from mother and daughter to friends. The box is fabricated and the top is inlaid with carved stones.

Photo credit: Chris Wahlberg Photography

Shael L Barger
Dakotah Designs
Berkeley, California. USA

Raised in New England and originally trained as a painter, with a BFA, I joined the corporate ranks due to a left brain right brain duel. A change in life circumstances led me back to art, this time exploring in metal and stone. I fell in love with the materials and what they could convey, taking classes with many of my heroes - Michael Boyd, Donald Stuart,and Carol Webb among them - all challenged me to be fearless in pushing the boundaries of what I had thought was possible. I continually explore and refine my vision through use of metal and lapidary, creating texture and images. I am drawn to combining fabrication and inlay work with elements I have cast from nature introducing movement and dimension-physical and implied- into my work. My goal is to help the materials speak, so that they tell their own saga in stone and metal.

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.