Saturday, December 19, 2009

Making Jewelry by Hand: Alexander Calder

When I first discovered Calder's style of jewelry in a book in a dark corner of my library, I had fantasies of slipping back in time as a Parisian duchess with great beauty and wit one can imagine, wearing this stark metal jewelry. Then my artist-looking-for-inspiration kicked in and I wanted to know what metals were used and how it was constructed. I indulged myself and flipped through the entire book. Turns out Calder, who lived from 1898 to 1976, individually handcrafted his pieces from basic, every-day wire such as brass, steel and silver, and also used recycled bits of old glass and crockery. He composed his jewelry by hammering, broadening and squiggle-ing wire into shapes such as leaves, u-shapes, circles and especially spirals; there are no soldered joins. These basic shapes are reinvented every single time a circle or loop is made.

I really love the grounding element an artist brings to their craft, whether it be clothing, paper, clay, wood, or metal. So in honor of Calder, I created this mosaic (made via images on Flickr) of his jewelry: a rare form that is beautiful, timeless and exudes a great passion for life. xo, Sharon Marzonie

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