I was very excited to be interviewed and featured in an Etsy Stalker blog post recently. Below is the feature in full:
There’s no doubt that the work done by Ruthie at The Silver Forge is eye-catching and beautifully done. Swirling in silver, these jellyfish earrings are filled with gentle, graceful movement.
But take a step back. Ruthie creates all of her own components, everything from bezel settings to ear wires. And let’s take things back even a step further: she starts by “throwing” her own silver, a procedure which takes it from pellet to sheet or wire through a process of heating, pouring, and molding.
I love the way Ruthie pairs the silver with such varied and interesting elements. From the clear topaz beads in the earrings above, we go to bright blue titanium as a contrast to the gorgeously textured silver in this pendant meant to evoke the scale of a sea creature.
In this pendant, a rich piece of unakite has been nestled into a setting echoing the roundness of the stone. The off-center placement is accented with still more circles of silver to create a cohesive, compelling whole.
Read on to learn more about Ruthie’s inspiration and process!
Curator V: You’ve studied goldsmithing extensively. How did that come about? When did you know you wanted to make jewelry?
I have loved silver jewellery ever since I was a child. I remember being mesmerized by the collection of huge silver and gemstone rings my best friend’s mum had, and I certainly did my fair share of buying beautiful pieces! Around 2005, I stumbled across a short evening course in silver jewellery making being held at a local college. It took place in the Industrial Arts area, so we were working amongst some huge unrefined equipment! As soon as I walked in, I knew I’d found my niche. (I can still remember the lovely oily smell of that room.)
I kept trying to find other courses, but it wasn’t until I moved to Brisbane that I found a dedicated goldsmithing school, which I have been attending since 2008. Last year I completed intensive vocational certification, which covered many aspects of smithing from art and technical design drawing to lost wax casting and tool making, all of which helped improve my skills and knowledge immensely.
Curator V: You make all of your own component pieces. What made you decide to do that?
There are many pre-manufactured ‘jewellery findings’ available, such as earring hooks, gemstone bezels etc. however for me, the true nature of ‘handmade’ is that everything is crafted completely by hand from start to finish. It’s part of keeping the art alive. The only commercial components I use are the neoprene chokers I supply with pendants, which are more for people who don’t already have a favourite choker or chain.
Curator V: In your About page, you say “Each piece starts life as a throw of silver”. Can you explain what that means?
Once it’s been dug out of the ground and refined, silver is usually provided in pellets. These are heated to melting point in a crucible and poured into a mould, creating either a plate or a bar of silver. These can then be rolled into progressively thinner flat plates or extruded into wire. This heating, pouring and moulding process is called a ‘throw’.
Curator V: You’ve recently added some druzy agate rings to your shop. What about working with that stone appeals to you?
Druzy agate is a great stone to work with – it’s unique, unusual, and every piece is guaranteed to be different! I love the large, colourful cabochons (smooth cut stones). The idea that they come from a hollow geode that water has seeped through for thousands of years to create tiny sparkly crystals is fascinating to me!
Curator V: How would you describe the woman you design for?
She’s funky, stylish, interesting; likes one of a kind statement pieces; has great taste, and is aged between 17 and 97. That’s my lovely customers so far! I also think she’s attracted to a fusion of modern with old world charm.
Curator V: What can we expect from The Silver Forge in the future?
My mind is so full of designs I can scarcely begin to make them all! In the works right now are more amazing druzy rings and pendants, a new range of gorgeous domed pieces, and a new line of earrings. Then there’s the Valentine’s Day collection!
If you’d like to keep up to date with what’s happening at The Silver Forge, you can follow my blog and/or my Facebook page .
Ruthie is offering a $50 Gift Certificate as her giveaway prize! To enter, visit The Silver Forge, then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite item. One winner to be chosen at random next Sunday, January 27th.
Thanks so much for having me, Violet! There were one hundred and six entries into the giveaway. Congratulations to Maeghan for winning! Be sure to pop over to EtsyStalker to keep up with the fabulous goodies Violet finds next.