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On the hunt for something in the cave I call my craft closet I came upon a box of old pieces of jewelry and objects, along with all my journals, notebooks, and handouts that I made and saved while I was honing my metalsmithing skills at the University of Washington and Penland School of Crafts.
In true Rebekah J. fashion I spent several hours pouring over my notes, sketches, and professor critiques; remembering my thoughts, the fun, and pain, I had creating them.
A bit of a hoarder, these are the times when I am grateful that I have saved these items. There’s a real value in the work that happens when you’re pushed to the limits creating as a student. The depths and lengths that you’re required to go to in answering the call of your professors.
I’m really proud of this work, and the techniques I learned are ones that I’m still using today.
I’m going to share a series of these over the coming months and I hope you enjoy seeing a little bit of the work that created the artist that I am today and delivered the skills I use to create your jewelry.
I’m really proud of this work, and the techniques I learned are ones that I’m still using today. — R
While taking a casting class with Maria Phillips I was inspired by a guest lecture by Nancy Worden who used many found objects to create her message-driven pieces. I chose communication as an answer to the assignment prompt of 'metamorphosis'. Focusing on different forms of communication and how they have changed and evolved over time; from oral, to the written word, and then to digital.
Using pencils found in the art studios, all in varying states of use, alongside a plastic barbie flip phone, I then hand carved and shaped lips in two separate pieces so I could manipulate them into varying degrees of openness.
The resulting necklace uses links fabricated in sterling silver which are attached to the pencils via handmade hinges. There is a series of mouths on one side, and tiny cell phones on the other, both in varying degrees of openness. It’s finished by a toggle clasp using an open cell phone and an open mouth, which is designed to hang in the front.
I also made a coordinating brooch with a flower compsed of lip parts and a flip phone stamen, which are cast in sterling silver and attached to the pencil with rivets. Cell phone halves make a nod to leaves along the side. The brooch is finished with pin back fabricated from sterling silver and steel which is riveted to the pencil.
Revisiting these projects from college makes me want to make more weird things that push the boundaries of what we see as jewelry! I Have several other objects I can't wait to share with you. Stay tuned after the holidays for more!