Steel has been used in industry for decades due to its capacity for easy machining and relatively low-cost production. With a hardiness that resists tarnishing and corrosion when up-kept, steel is a popular and inexpensive alternative for industry and studio jewelers. Stainless steel’s nickel-free nature and lack of toxicity make it an ideal hypo-allergenic alternative to silver and certain karats of gold. The true reason for steel’s developing popularity lies in its inherent industrial and hard-edged nature. Akin to the mysterious tall-dark-and-handsome figure in the room, steel is the topic everyone wants to get to know.

Steel jewelry has never been considered “mainstream”, especially in industry where precious metals beset with gemstones maintain the proverbial throne of power.  Steel’s lack of mainstream support is precisely why it is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional jewelry metals. Like the counter-culture movements visible in each era of history, steel jewelry is taking its place among popular culture trends. Jewelry today is about having an edge while making a bold statement on a cost-efficient budget. Soft-spoken chains and rings are being pushed away from the proverbial “popular table” to make room for the new kid in town.

In order to introduce myself with proper decorum to this up and coming prodigy, I have been familiarizing myself with some of steel’s existing acquaintances. The first of more to come, I offer here brief introductions to two women whose work and approach to linear spatial relationships have been a source of inspiration to my own work.

 

Donna D’Aquino creates steel wireworks inspired by drawing and architecture. She focuses on interiors and exteriors “such as bridges and telephone towers” in pieces which are “three-dimensional drawings for the body and wall”. Each of D’Aquino’s works resembles a line drawing in space made tangible through the physicality of metal. I admire the effortless presence and energy of line D’Aqunio instills in her spatial compositions as I work to achieve this same complex simplicity in my own linear structural works.

I first encountered Kim Cridler’s steel wire work during my first year of graduate school and was instinctively drawn to her ability to establish volume without mass. Working in both large and small scale, each wire framework maintains a delicate line quality that purposefully defines spatial relationships in the establishment of form. Each of Cridler’s works becomes a beautiful testament to the powerful presence of steel wire in creating the architectonic and organic alike.

 

 

Works Cited:

Cridler, Kim. “Kim Cridler”. Tingalls.com. 2013. Web. np. 25 April 2013. http://www.kimcridler.com/.

D’Aqunio, Donna. “Work in Line”. Web. np. 25 April 2013. http://www.donnadaquino.com.

“Metals in Jewelry Making”. Zales. 2013. Web. np. 25 April 2013. http://www.zales.com.

Photos:

Bittersweet Basin http://www.kimcridler.com.

Wire Bracelet #14 http://www.donnadaquino.com/.

 

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