I have always loved horses and my experiences with them continue to inspire me in my artistic endeavors.
I strive to capture all of the various aspects of different equine personalities along with their intrinsic beauty in my jewelry designs.
My filigree horse jewelry is some of my most innovative work. My first filigree design was Guinevere, an award winning piece that features a delicately carved horse who’s mane and tail become floral vines that swirl around the entire bead. Guinevere was voted to be the most innovated design in the AETA Innovation Awards in 2007, where it was judged against many other entries, which included horse jewelry, accessories, home décor items, and artwork from many major companies in the equestrian industry. I created the Guinevere bead through a very complex and unusual carving process. Guinevere was made through the lost wax casting process. In order to create a hollow piece using this process, it is quite a complicated feat. In fact, some of the aspects of this method are a closely guarded secret within the trade.
The fist step in creating a cast design is to hand carve the design in wax. Filigree designs, like Guinevere, will take one hundred hours or more of meticulous hand carving in wax and take days to accomplish. It is often necessary for me to make many of the wax carving tools that I use in order to create these pieces. Details must be carved, and wax must be welded over any mistakes or file marks and then reshaped. Once the long, tedious process of wax carving is finished a rubber mold can be made. This mold will be injected with another type of wax which allows multiple pieces to be made. Due to the fact that there is a large open space in the center of the piece and, also, a continuous pattern extending around the design, the complexity of making the design into a viable mold is obviously a difficult design challenge from start to finish.
Guinevere’s continuous pattern allows the wearer two options or “sides” to choose from when wearing this piece. She can be worn from the front to show the delicately carved horse standing with her neck rounded and her feet together. Worn with the “backside” showing, Guinevere is a lovely filigree floral “bead” featuring delicately carved scrolling floral vines. These options make this design, as well as all of my filigree horses, extremely versatile, as well as striking pieces of jewelry.
After creating Guinevere, I was inspired to create more filigree designs and challenge myself with this format of metal art. A few more of my favorites followed as I created Entwined and, finally, Ivy. Entwined is a hollow filigree heart shaped design. On the front of this bead I carved a little mare and stallion, nose to nose, in a delightful warm pose. The stallion has a wild curly mane that wraps around the bead, while the mare’s mane runs down around the bottom of the bead. Both of the horses manes loop together on the back of the piece where I placed small flowers as a finishing touch. This piece is exquisite on both the front and the back and there is a real emotional aspect of warmth in this design, which has made it one of my most popular pieces. I will, occasionally, set 1mm diamond eyes in both horses on the Entwined bead.
Ivy is one of the three most complex designs in my line of filigree work. Ivy is a hollow filigree horse head with a very majestic sophisticated style. Ivy was particularly complicated due to the many undercuts involved. When I was carving her I saved the space under her chin for the last step since it would definitely be a challenge to achieve. It required me to make a tool that would allow me to continue the filigree design in an extremely hard spot to reach. After some trial and error, I was able to make some special tools. After some very careful carving, I was thrilled with the results. Complex filigree designs always present a variety of challenges, and countless hours, but the results can be quite rewarding. I make sure that each of my designs is cast in high quality sterling silver and hand polished for a flawless finish and long lasting enjoyment for my customers.