Illusions of fabric in functional jewelry

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


The focus of my thesis work in jewelry design has been form, function, and illusion. The form is the transformation of fabric, both woven and lace, into functional jewelry made from bronze and sterling silver. My intent is to translate the idea of soft, pliable fabric into metal, and create the illusion of fabric. This idea is especially important with the silver lace pieces. The sterling silver pins and necklace of lace embossed metal are translations of several elements. The layers of metal are copies of stiff white lace collars found in fifteenth and sixteenth century paintings. Flat pieces of sterling silver are folded and pinched into tight gathers to create the impression of a ruffle. Several layers of metal are attached to resemble the fullness of the lace collars. The diffusion of reflective light and the negative spaces create an illusion of increased visual depth. The white matte color of the silver provides a strong contrast to the dark area of negative space. The process of leaving silver white imitates the starched lace and stiff doilies used by my grandmothers. The Norwegian women who immigrated to the United States brought only their clothing and jewelry; my grandmother was one. Her most treasured pieces of jewelry were her Norwegian pins of filigree framework, with silver and gold disks. As a child I was fascinated by how elaborate and beautiful they were. Even though my works look nothing like these pins, they have been a strong influence, both visually and emotionally.




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