Starting with flat sheets of sterling silver, gold or fine silver, I produce hollow forms—some intricately pierced and set with semiprecious or precious stones—using traditional hand fabrication techniques.
I create my hollow forms by first preparing a die matrix from heavy acrylic sheet and brass, sawing-out my design’s outline by hand using a jeweler’s saw. Beneath the die matrix, I place silver I’ve sanded smooth, textured and annnealed. Under the silver, I place a thick urethane mat. I place this die matrix, silver and urethane sandwich into a hand-operated hydraulic press and apply tremendous pressure until the silver has expanded, stretched up into the cavity of the die matrix by the compressed urethane. I loosen the press, remove the silver, anneal and repeat until I have the domed, raised shape emerging from the flat sheet that I want as the front of the hollow form, then I flip over the die matrix and start over with a new piece of prepared silver to produce the back of the hollow form. I repeat making fronts and backs until I have the number of pieces needed.
After pressing, I cut out the piercings by hand using a jeweler’s saw, drilling a tiny hole to feed my saw blade through for each non-contiguous piercing. After piercing, I free each hollow form half from its flat sheet by sawing around its outline. I sand the mating surfaces of the front and back halves so alignment is perfect, then carefully solder each of them together around the edge.
If stones are included, I add solid rod or tubing to create a setting—drilling, filing and sanding as needed to blend the setting into the hollow form. Bails, jump rings, connections, hinges and anything else requiring soldering I add next then do the final finishing and polishing. If desired, I patina and oxidize the piece then pick out the stones and set them.
Lastly, I sort through all of my sketches and drawings that went into the creation of the jewelry and professionally mount them onto a z-fold panel, showing the evolution of the jewelry’s design—from inspirational sketch to final execution. I take the completed jewelry and the original art panel and place them together in a custom black-lacquered ready-to-hang shadow box with picture frame lid. The interior of the box is padded black wedding silk, custom designed to hold the jewelry and art so each is easily removed, worn or viewed and placed back in the box without taking the box off the wall.
I employ a part-time assistant on an as-needed basis to help me in my studio with general tasks that are outside of the creative process.