Relish Server - Holding Place

Materials: sterling silver
Dimensions: 8 x 12 x 4 inch

raised, fabricated, woven.

Photo credit: Chas Krider

Bradshaw HaysMichael
Columbus, Ohio. USA

I use traditional forming and construction methods to fashion items that are contemporary solutions to the historical forms of holloware and dinning utensils. Through the investigation of form and volume I try to impart upon each piece a monumental sculptural and architectonic quality while maintaining a satisfying human-scaled functionality.

Over ten years ago while doing research for a museum exhibition I was curating on the history of Ohio decorative arts I began to take metalworking classes at a local arts center to better understand the processes and technical issues of the field. Fascinated by the sculptural quality inherent in the work, and the many diverse and complex methods employed to achieve it, I became enamored with the medium of silverworking. Since then I have taken classes at craft schools across the U.S. and have maintained a studio as a independent silversmith.

My work draws inspiration from the intersection of the restrained architectural classicism of Biedermeier design of the mid-nineteenth century Germany and the meticulous functionality of industrial products of the Bauhaus during the 1920’s and 30’s. By attempting to marry the minimalist, utilitarian forms of the latter with the sophistication of design of the former, I hope to achieve the combining of the pure functionality of one with the elegance of form of the other. My work is a balance of striving to fashion items that are elegantly playful while possessing a visually pleasing functionality.

Over the last few years I have been recognized by the Ohio Arts Council, and my work has received the Rio Grande Jewelry Award in 2008, the 2011 Dresden Artist Residency from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the Pamela Morris Thomford Award For Excellence in Metals in Body of Work from the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, OH. I have exhibited throughout the U.S. and Germany, most recently in “Craft Forms” at the Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA, and “CRAFT USA” at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT. My work has been published in several books on contemporary metalworking, including “500 Metal Vessels” by Fred Fenster, and is in the permanent collection of the Ohio Craft Museum and the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV.

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.