As a child I spent a lot of my time in great museums and pouring over books of mythology and art history.
I was fascinated by jewelry that was ”found” in ancient sites and I admired the men who had traveled to forlorn spots to unearth treasures.
From being buried in the earth for untold time, the very metal of these artifacts seemed to have a profound story to tell about the people who had woren them and I marveled at the mystery that they resonated with.
Reborn again into our era, the precious metal seemed like a conduit to a series of specific individuals from ages past and I felt locked in to the full cycle of humanity through all time.
Our family houses were filled with ancient artifacts many of which contained relics housed in silver and guided boxes.
These vessels were branded with marks and indentations of all the untold number of devoted and adorned individuals that had owned them over the ages.
I came to love all the scratches and patinas and liked to speculate and spin stories about long sea journeys and dramatic battles on horseback, tragic love affairs and opulent dowries that these marks might have represented.
When I first took up a piece of flat silver sheet, it seemed to cry out for it’s flawless surface to please be marked so that it might have its own character.
It wanted to be bent and engraved with hammer marks and its edges effected so that it could speak of ancient kings and queens and deep internment and rebirth.
Each piece that I make, I fill with stories for the wearer to discover.
Some are cuff bracelets, either as a set or as singles, and others are brooches and torcs that allow the fabric to be seen through the folded, hammered and pierced silver sheet.
I use patented Argentium silver because it doesn’t mark the wearer skin with black tarnish as Stirling silver does.
When I first studied silversmithing, Argentium silver didn’t exist.
My skin reacted to Stirling Silver and I didn’t enjoy using or wearing it.
When Argentium silver became available, I took to it immediately.
I loved to work with it and to wear it.
I begin with a sheet of 18 or 20 gauge Argentium silver and cut the general shape of the piece that I see in my mind.
I anneal the metal with my Swiss torch, cool it and finally pickle it.
I form fold the piece to give it a spine so that it will be really strong and withstand years of bending in taking it on and off.
This spine is made by bending the piece in half and them reopening it flat with six inch duck billed pliers.
The piece is annealed and pickled again and then the engraving of its story begins.
I work with music, heavy textured hammers, punches and scribes, stopping to anneal and pickled many times until the piece’s story is complete.
Then more annealing and pickling before it is formed into a final shape - cuff or pin or torc - using various forms and different hammers to forge it over and form it.
The final polishing is done with many grades of grit and polish until it is complete.
Lastly it is set into an oven and heated to 250 degrees to bring the Germanium in the Argentium silver to the surface.
This keeps it bright and discourages tarnish from discolouring the wearer’s arm, fabric or neck.