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Jewelry

Hi friends! I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks on a big website update. The gallery views have changed, the navigation is cleaner, and…..

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 8.45.49 AM I’ve got an online store, y’all!

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Take a look around and let me know what you think! The store is still a work in progress, and I’ll be updating steadily with new products. Thanks for all the support lately, you guys!

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While living in Houston I had the good fortune to meet and become friends with dozens of super talented metalsmiths. While basking in the glow of their cumulative knowledge one afternoon I shared my problems and hesitations with my work. My friend suggested mesh and I pretty much dropped everything else I was working on… and never picked it back up.

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You know what doesn’t work? Soldering. IMG_0142

What does? Fusing!

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And so began my journey into a brave new world with almost no steel in it. I do not miss the super toxic flux, the odd pickle acid situations, or the endless grinding and filing. IMG_0179

 

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Before and after.

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It’s been a bit of a ride. I started these first pieces in July. Six months seems like kind of a short time to have completely changed my materials, style, and production. I’m still working out the kinks, but damn am I enjoying it. Fusing is the FUNNEST.

If you’re interested, the best way to see what I’m up to is instagram. I post process and inspiration shots almost every day!

Hi friends!

This is going to be a long post with lots of technical details, so metalsmiths eat your hearts out.

I sought out the residency in Houston (apply now!) so I could gather some new visual information about a big, unfamiliar city. I like to make work about urban infrastructure and my sense of place and my intention was to continue to expand my current series of three dimensional steel jewelry and focus more on drawing and sculptures. I left the residency with something different than I had expected. If you have checked out my website, Facebook page, or especially instagram over the last few months you’ll know what I’m talking about. The current series I’m working on has gotten very gestural and very wearable these days. I do regret not drawing more over the last year, but otherwise I am so incredibly satisfied with what I’m making. Here’s how I got from here to there:

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This blog is already full of love for the highway infrastructure in Houston. I made a few pieces like this over the winter that stick to the old style- what I’ve recently named the Perspective Series. Like everyone who has EVER touched silver knows- it tarnishes. And there is this thing that ruins silversmith’s lives called firescale that was, unsurprisingly, ruining my life as well. The copper added to the sterling alloy rises to the surface during heating and leaves ghostly purple spots that get darker and more oppressive as the piece tarnishes. Metalsmiths have different ways of dealing with this. You know. You’re probably a metalsmith. Mine was starting to hurt, and I’ve had enough trouble with tendonitis. New plan. I started experimenting with a sterling alloy called Argentium silver. Argentium has a higher silver content (less copper) and incorporates the element germanium, which with the proper handling forms a lovely white tarnish resistant layer and is completely immune to fire scale. I signed up- but the learning curve is really steep. Like any new material, I had to learn how to handle it. I had some help. I’m still not great with it but I love it.

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In the meantime, while I played the learn how to solder Argentium game, I kept at it with the overpasses. The line of the steel wire just didn’t seem like enough information to convey depth, so I asked my friends for help. This residency was amazing for so many different reasons- being around my fellow residents is at the top of the list. Demi encouraged me to push the drama, Delaney encouraged me to experiment with new materials, and Grace gave me sheets of her handmade paper to play with.

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These pieces are currently in the “In Residence” show at the HCCC. They are very important to me because they represent the moment of transition.  I like these pieces and they do what I want visually, but I had trouble wrapping my head around their longevity and care. Soldering steel is iffy enough and I take a lot of pains to make brittle joints last for what I hope will be a lifetime of hard use. Paper? What happens in the rain? What happens when the steel rusts? What happens when they’re dropped on concrete?

This is enough words for one post. I shall return with part two of the Highway Series Origin Story: “How the Hell Do You Solder Mesh?!”

Hi friends! Back in the spring I had two different people come to me on the same day with found objects they wanted me to set into jewelry. I almost never use found objects or settings in my regular line so these were a bit hard to wrap my head around. Both of these folks were familiar with my work and came to me because they like my style. The challenge was to make something with these unusual objects that still looks like me.IMG_6057The first client brought me some driftwood and a delicate ocean-worn shell. He and his wife had picked them up on a vacation to the beach and he wanted to present her with a special piece of jewelry on their anniversary. The second couple were some sweet folks I met through the residency. They own one of my favorite sculptures. They inherited these beautiful silver antique spoons from Germany and one accidentally went through the garbage disposal! Strangely, they thought of me when they pulled it out of a drawer one day.

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IMG_0238 IMG_0242This was the final product. I was worried about the delicate wood and shell becoming damaged during normal wear, so trapping it in this frame ended up working to provide some protection.

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commission1commission3 Commission2The spoon needed a lot of clean up but it already had an interesting organic shape. I ended up making a convertible pendant that could be worn multiple ways.

This was a nice exercise, but I’m happy to be back working on my regular line!

 

 

 

OH, Hi!

Overwhelming things are happening for me and my little art biz, and it’s time to share! First of all, I hope you all will enjoy this complete line of work I just sent to Mora Jewelry in my old haunt: Asheville, NC. It’s a good sampling of the imagery I’ve picked up since moving to Houston, the mother of all sprawl. I’m crushing hard on the overpasses at the moment. Think what you want about the car culture here, but I admire a city that respects its residents enough to beautify the infrastructure they see day in and day out. Texas has some fancy interstates. I’m especially a fan of the giant bronze stars adorning all the structural pylons in the I-10/Outer Loop exchange in Katy.

 

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Anyway. Here’s the jewelry, now available at Mora:

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Marthe was kind enough to share some images of the display:

photo 1-1 photo 2-1I’m such an admirer of Marthe’s work for the art jewelry community, and I’m such a fangirl of the other artists in this gallery- especially Joanna Gollberg, one of the original partners at the space. Any time I’m asked to be in the company of such talented artists I have to pinch myself.

Check it out:

Mora Designer Jewelry Website

Mora’s Facebook Page

 

Hi friends!

The last month has gone by in a blur of wire cuttings and chain samples. During a busy day at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft I figured I wasn’t going to get much designing done, so I tried to find something to keep my hands busy while talking to visitors in my open studio. I recently came across some samples from a class I took at VCU about ancient textile techniques from pre-columbian Peru. I recreated an 8-strand braid from my samples with 28g steel wire.IMG_5350What I got was a few hours of meditative motion and a great textured cable that I can’t find enough uses for. For years I’ve been brainstorming new ideas for my production work and failing to come up with anything that was both cost effective to make and within my aesthetic. I’ve never thought that the different kinds of work I make live well together, and the rift has gotten wider as my inspirations become more tied to urban landscape and fall away from ornamental motifs. I had different plans for the first few months of my residency, but I’m definitely pleased with the progress I’ve made. Houston, you are my muse!

Here are just a few of the prototypes I’ve been working on. I hope to photograph more and share as I go along. A few pieces are already listed in my shop!

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I hope y’all like them! There’s more a-coming, so check out the shop every once in a while.

 

As y’all know, my time here in Asheville is coming to an end. I’m moving to Houston for my residency and I’m packing my whole life up for a long adventure. The budget is tight and mama has hungry cats to feed over the next transient months. I am hoping that maybe some of you readers might be interested in helping me by grabbing one of these special limited edition pendants I’ve made to honor my departure.

My work is about the experience of travel and finding familiarity in the foreign. Architecture, exposed infrastructure, and other human influences on the environment inform my work. Asheville is a beautiful town, manicured and maintained in a way that makes infrastructure disappear, but a part of this city that will stick with me has been the lamp posts- remnants of the art deco influence popular during the construction of this city. The Asheville Lamp Post Pendant is my goodbye to the town I’ve loved for the last four years, as I move on to new and exciting opportunities.

The pendant is cast from solid bronze or sterling silver, given a beautiful brushed patina, and hung from a 100% silk cord or attached to a sturdy keychain. You can wear it on it’s red cord, attach a chain, clip it to your keys, use it as a zipper pull, rub it for good luck, or whatever you like. The pendant is 1″ long and 1/2″ wide.

Please contact me at caitiesellers@gmail.com to order, or click on the image to shop online. Thank you for everything!!

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Pendant in bronze, $28.

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Pendant in bronze, $28.

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Keychain in bronze, $32.

Keychain in Bronze $32

Keychain in bronze, $32.

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Pendant in sterling silver, $38.

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Pendant in sterling silver, $38.

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Keychain in sterling silver, $42.

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Keychain in sterling silver, $42.

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Caitie Sellers Card back 3

The back of the card… of course.