Seeking the Art of Jewelry across Ages(III)

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is in the old area of Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Here, on the second floor is a workroom and store called Susan Sanders Design. Let us go back to the modern geometric jewelry we told about earlier.

Susan Sanders is a jewelry designer at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. She started making jewelry when she was in college but my desire to make things started much earlier than that. Her father was a graphics designer and brought me home professional supplies. Although her original plan was to be a furniture designer.

Susan Sanders says this ring is not the easiest of her rings to wear. It is more like a finger sculpture. She carved the main sterling silver form of the ring from a piece of hard wax material. With the lost-wax method we told about earlier, she carved the wax model to make the silver form. Then, she used a milling machine to create a perfect circle opening for a finger.

She also used this milling tool to carve out the areas where she placed small pieces of onyx and jasper stone. Once the stones were in place, she ground the surface to a smooth finish.

Like most of her work, this ring is very modern and geometric. Susan Sanders says she is not exactly sure where her ideas come from. Some ideas come from subjects she loves such as modern architecture. But the hardest part is choosing an idea for a piece of jewelry since she does not have the time or resources to make every design she imagines.

Susan Sanders sells most of her work in her store in Alexandria.If you visit the store, you can see her hard at work on new jewelry. She has shown her work in countries such as Italy and South Korea.

Listen as Susan Sanders tells about an exciting show she helped put together in Russia. SUSAN SANDERS: “I have had quite a number of shows in different countries. The most exciting of which was a show that we had in Moscow in Russia that was called Two Capitals which was jewelry designers from the Washington, D.C., area and artists also from the Moscow area. We put together a show and went over there with it.

We had a fabulous time. We were entertained by three of the country’s best opera singers and one of their top pianists, which was absolutely incredible. We had an opportunity to meet some of the other Russian jewelers and visit their studios, so we feel like we have friends over there even though we had to speak through an interpreter.” Susan Sanders says to be a good jewelry maker you have to enjoy working long and hard on very small details.

She says it is not work that goes quickly. Sanders feels lucky to have grown up with the choices she had. Because her father was an artist, he supported her creative goals early on. Many women did not have the same choices. Susan Sanders says she is thankful to be an artist doing work that she loves.


* Series article:

Seeking the Art of Jewelry across Ages (I)

Seeking the Art of Jewelry across Ages (II)

Seeking the Art of Jewelry across Ages (III)

* Original source: Seeking the Art of Jewelry across Ages(III)

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