Our exhibition pieces include the following works. Kokeshi Collection

Inspired by a love of the traditional Japanese wooden dolls, the Kokeshi Match Keep is a decorative object with a hidden, yet delightful function. A playful match-like shape herself, the silver and copper girl sparks a subtle interest until the cast finial flame atop her head is raised to reveal a celebration of colorful matches within.

The Matchbox Brooch carries the hidden playful nature of the kokeshi into the wearable realm. Much like the match keep, this simpler box features a fabricated finial flame which serves as an interactive touchpoint for the wearer. In a gesture akin to striking a match along the side, the wearer may raise the flame to open the box and reveal the multicolored matches inside.

The Matchstick Earrings convey the essence of these ideas in their most basic form. Here the playfulness comes about when worn and dangling with the movement of the wearer. Perhaps she herself becomes the elegant kokeshi when adorned with this striking set.

Sterling Silver
Nickel Silver
Rayon Flocking

Memento Mori

As part of my recent transition away from a full-time design career, toward a focus on my craft as a metalsmith, I have taken it upon myself to create a personal memento mori in the form of a wearable pendant.  Translated literally as “remember death,” this classical artistic trope serves as a reminder of the inevitability of death, in order that life is then lived to its fullest. Motifs traditionally include skulls, hourglasses, coffins, wilted flowers, and other reminders of the impermanence of life. 

In a similarly macabre tradition>mourning jewelry became popular in the Victorian era as a way to remember the dead, and often featured a lock of hair belonging to the deceased loved one. My memento mori features elements of mourning jewelry, that I may also say goodbye to youth and embrace middle age, in the same gesture which reminds me to live life to its fullest.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to study amber carving with traditional artists of the craft in Chiapas, Mexico. Alongside carved treasures, I returned home with an uncut block of amber. I carved this memento into a coffin-shaped focal point for my pendant, as the material evokes a meaningful memory of my artistic journey. 

Appearing embedded, the amber is backed with a lock of my own hair, stashed away during college, as part of a narrative photography course project centered around personal histories. This course helped me embrace my body and my selfhood at a pivotal moment in life, and as such, this relic also holds importance in my life. 

As a teenager, I visited an exhibition of Odilon Redon’s artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was so moved by the work, my dad splurged and bought me a copy of the massive exhibition catalog. I poured over its images over the years, always returning to Redon’s playful yet somber winged heads. The angel-like imagery is referenced in this piece as both a formative memory and an acknowledgement of my mortality.

Lastly, my memento mori features a hand-carved freshwater pearl in the form of a skull. Having never attempted the task, I carved and polished this pearl in order to learn how. The gesture serves as my first endeavor to pursue just what the piece is designed to evoke - a desire to live, learn, and love life to the fullest.

Mexican amber
My hair
Freshwater pearl
Oxidized sterling silver




We must cultivate our garden

We must cultivate our garden
“Fun(nel) in a Day” Penland Metals project
Spring 2022, Instructor Suzanne Pugh

I had the opportunity to study with Suzanne Pugh for two months at Penland School of Craft, in the mountains of North Carolina. Each day I would walk from my cabin in the woods to my bench in the studio, where I explored new techniques in metalsmithing.

One day, we were given a prescriptive challenge with a timeline. Design and fabricate a functional funnel, inspired by the work of fiction you brought to share with classmates. What an odd premise! But also, such a creative one. Candide was just given to me a by a good friend, upon contemplation of a big life transition. 

We must cultivate our garden,” he taught me, is the core message of this lovely book. My copper funnel takes the shape of a carrot, given its natural funnel-like shape and familiarity in the garden, with this special quote stamped along its keyed seam. The lid has a tension-fitted silver bezel and features organic carrot greens in the form of sterling wire.

This is my favorite piece from my time at Penland. As a designer, I appreciate being constrained by criteria for success and a deadline. I threw my all into this technical and creative challenge in the allotted six hours, and oxidized my piece with liver of sulfur just in time for the class meet up at the end of the day, so the text would be legible. It was an incredibly memorable process and day.

Sterling Silver