One twig, one hinge,
one book at a time.
The Vermont-based jeweler is a master at combining polymer clay, PMC and metalsmithing to create new designs.
When asked about how she develops her designs, Celie Fago states that the process is nonlinear—“I’m not methodical in that way,” she says. She works in what she calls “painfully small increments,” one aspect of an idea leading to another, “one little embellishment to the next.” As an example, she describes a hinged box she is working on and how she might decide to make it with a copper hinge pin—one small change that will move her forward.
Some of Fago’s work is driven by the materials she is exploring. For the past couple of years she has been working with Mitsubishi’s new sterling Precious Metal Clay, which was produced for the durability it adds to silver. To test it, she started doing a number of pierced designs—covered with holes, “like Swiss cheese,” she says—something that could not be done in fine silver.
That idea of making little openings in something led Fago to create tiny books, which feature those Swiss cheese holes and minute hinges. They are pendants, although the artist first conceived of them as charms. She has found that the term charm can be off-putting; in any case, the book pieces were a little too big and restrictive to be labeled as such. She has designed some larger ones and is even thinking they might at some point be free-standing objects... (More)
A crumpled sheet of fourteen karat gold, as if it were a worthless piece of paper about to be thrown into a trash bin, is set at the bottom of its almost brutal metallic surface with one very beautiful South Sea pearl—a survivor from its emergence from a home within the seas depths, to be cast into the lap of markets eager to use it for profit. Ungainly in some strange way, this pearl reorients the gold above it, marking a contrapuntal movement between surface and texture, between the realities of life with its coexistence of harshness and ineffable grace.
A breathtakingly elegant branch of Alaskan white coral (no human could replicate it?) has three eighteen karat gold leaf forms, so very carefully placed on the once living structure that it is almost painful to behold the attachment. The branch, a piece of nature’s creation, outshines the three leaves, but at the same time could not really be complete without them, at least in this particular artistic exercise. Another, a swirl of repeating circles in sterling silver and eighteen karat gold seemingly move before the eye in a celebratory dance, homage to the infinite unknowedness of the universe.... (More)
Our upcoming issue 37.2 contains
JAR at the Metropolitan
Smithsonian Craft Show 2014
Some of Our Popular Articles