Ancient water, held encapsulated in quartz, magnifies a micro-mosaic of jewel-colored raindrops; a story of how we are related and rely on, and impact, each other’s lives.
I will let the owner of this cuff tell his story below. From my perspective, magnifying the micro-mosaic with a quartz is a technique I have only used a few times, and never with an enhydro quartz. (Enhydro quartz is a crystal that formed in water, encapsulating it, and there is a tiny bubble of air that moves around inside the water-filled chamber.) This cuff bracelet incorporates what I do best in creating personal adornment that speaks to the heart of the person wearing it. It is an honor and a joy to hear your stories and interpret them into wearable art for you. I cherish the relationships we build.
A note, shared with permission:
Courtney, Our exchanges convince me that you have explored my personality and, through your insightful eye and creative powers, truly given me works of art that embody the spirit of your adoptive culture. The color palette so reflects me as a gay man and, as combined with the water stone, captures my life’s work and my personal challenges as well.
I was allowed by friends and family to grow in my identity and the most important challenges I faced were self imposed. Yet, from the 1960’s to now was a time of great change for openly gay people in my profession. The joy that I see in this cuff will allow me to celebrate that self growth while reminding me that my professional career has meaning.
For me, my greatest professional accomplishment was the firm establishment of the Public Trust Doctrine in NC law. As a result, the submerged lands under sounds and rivers is held in trust for the public. Equally, the doctrine protects the public trust applicable to all of our State’s ocean beaches. I spent over 20 years on that project. As a native of the coast, I can’t imagine a bigger accomplishment. With the stone, you have expressed the joy that I feel in that accomplishment. Dan
Thank you, Dan. It has been my pleasure to get to know you over many years.
If one of us puts her toe in the ocean in the East, and one puts his toe in the ocean in the West,
we will be touching from opposite sides of the world.
Design: a New York City subway token, carried by two Towhees: a male Western Spotted Towhee, and a female Eastern Towhee.
For a family separated during the pandemic, it was my honor to create a gift that symbolizes connection. Living on opposite coasts of the United States and unable to continue their frequent visits, a son contacted me to make a Hanukkah gift for his mother. He had his heart set on a cuff bracelet, which can be a challenging surprise gift since my cuffs are rigid, not meant to be reshaped. Rather than worry about getting the size exactly right, we decided to turn the gift into a two-step interactive process.
We began with a discussion of symbolism and style, which brought me to sketch out a rough drawing for approval. (above, design shown "in the round" and laid out flat.)
From there, we had a clever helper (mom's partner) who was able to secretly trace a couple of her existing bracelets to give me a starting point for sizing her cuff. I made a cuff blank, and packaged it up with detailed drawings, and the subway token (as above) so that mom could see what it would look like when complete. She was delighted to receive it during Hanukkah for fitting. It fit very well, and she was able to finalize the shape by tracing another of her cuffs, and returned the package to me.
I adjusted the cuff shape, and soldered the bezel to the cuff, polished it, and set the token.
I chose to hammer set the token with a chisel punch so that the bezel would look like the edge of a coin. As I approached the inlay of the micro-mosaic, I received a final request to include the red eye of each towhee. I happened to have the perfect glass disc beads.
I again packaged the jewelry and sent it. A few days later, I received two notes...one from the East:
"It's here and it's amazing!!! The earrings were such a surprise. Thank you for making this beautiful gift for me!!!"
...and one from the West:
"Your talent in putting ideas together so quickly & in such meaningful ways is truly exquisite, not to mention crafting the stunning pieces themselves, also with such swiftness.
I know how blown away me & Shan were when we opened the 4th anniversary gift & so it was with my mom.
Got the tokens & lovely thoughtful card....working with you on these projects has been a huge bright spot in a sad & disorienting year!!
Thx again Courtney!
N & S"
Thank you, N, S, & R, for allowing me to tell your story and create a lasting memory for your family.
This pandemic has taken so much from us, and yet I see creativity in the way we reach out to each other. Video chats become much more frequent when we can't be there in person. What would these times be like without technology? And what would they be without art, music, dance....?
We don't have to imagine it. We have all these things at our fingertips.
I was honored to make these amulets to celebrate a special love story. She is the raucous California scrub jay, and he is the majestic turkey vulture. An invisible thread ties them together, forever. The final touch was engraved by Melissa Veres.
"Wherever you go, I am there."
Radical love is a bracelet that remembers and honors the Emanuel Nine;
lives that countered hate with love, and have touched the world.
The nine gold circles represent the nine lives lost at the Temple Emanuel Church in Charleston, NC June 17, 2015:
Clementa C. Pinckney
Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd
Ethel Lee Lance
Daniel L. Simmons
As we are touched by the Nine and their families left behind, their acts of kindness, love, and forgiveness ripple outward. The colors of the cuff I have made are the colors of our humanity--our skin--while our diversity is represented by the colors of LGBTQIA+ pride. Radical love is an unconditional acknowledgement of inherent worth. Radical love shows us how to bend the moral arc of the universe toward freedom, justice, and equality.
Practice a love that leaves no one out.
@metalsmithsforchange we are raising money for these three organizations with the coming auction, opening Tuesday, July 28th!
If you follow me on Facebook and Instagram you have already seen a lot of my posts, centered on the Black Lives Matter movement. I have been listening to Black people, learning how to be anti-racist, and helping to amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color. I have joined a group of metalsmiths creating for solidarity, justice, and peace. It isn't enough to share memes and articles; we all--especially white people-- need to step up and make change happen, commit to being anti-racist, and help stop the flow of resources to organizations, programs, and companies that discriminate against vulnerable communities or help to perpetuate economic and racial injustice throughout society.
There are so many places to find helpful resources on how to become an anti-racist, how to help change the system, a quick Google search will offer up numerous places to start.
I say “Black Lives Matter” because “all” didn’t cover Black when they said “All men are created equal”.
I say “Black Lives Matter” because “all” didn’t cover Black when they said “with liberty and justice for all”.
I say “Black Lives Matter” because they are still struggling with the definition of “all”.
Check out Metalsmiths for Change website for more information and to see the current pieces coming up for auction.
The world is changing while at the same time feels stuck on hold.