“My interest in metalsmithing began when I was a child watching my father, a tool and die maker, work with his tools on the tin-covered, heavy wooden table he had crafted in our basement. My brothers showed no interest, but I was fascinated by the way my father’s tools empowered him and the intensity with which he worked. Nothing else existed for him in that moment, except his tools and the metal.
Flash forward. 32 years of marriage. Two amazing children. 27 years of teaching. Divorce. I began taking metalsmith classes at our local art center, the BBAC, in Birmingham. Through talented, inspiring teachers, I felt the intensity of working with tools and metal the way my father did-- of the world falling away and nothing else existing in the moment.
I feel that I am an emerging metalsmith, open to learning new techniques, and developing a style. I strive for simplicity of form and flow in my work. Many times a design comes to me and flows on paper when I feel settled in my self. Often I begin forming the metal, but it will want to go another way—it seems to have an intention of its own. I enjoy the challenge of actualizing a design; figuring out how to approach/strategize the practical aspects of making it work.
I admire and am influenced by the work of Alexander Calder, Arthur George Smith, and Michael Good. Along with other great instructors at the BBAC, I’ve taken many classes from Mary Kernahan, who has studied with Michael Good, and generously shares what she learns and already knows about synclastic and anticlastic forming, simple and complex fabrication, among many techniques she has opened our eyes to. I primarily work with silver and stones, but am experimenting lately with bronze as well.
Especially during this pandemic, working in the metal shop at the BBAC has saved my sanity. There is a great community at the art center, whom I’m grateful for; supportive people willing to share their knowledge, processes, frustrations and failures as well as successes. I also have a great love of writing, and about four years ago began working on a children’s novel.
I’ve been a MSG member for about a year and am looking forward to learning more about what the organization has to offer in normal times! Wishing all a safe, healthy and Happy New Year!