Rustic at Heart: Julie Schmidt's Hammered Metal Jewelry




Basic metals and elemental design forge a simple statement.Who needs gold jewelry? Jeweler Julie Schmidt cuts and hammers bronze and copper alloys and gives them gleam and shapely appeal without the extravagant price.Her metal necklaces and earrings are three-dimensional hearts, flower petals or just free-form curvilinear shapes swinging and swaying with the wearer. The simple shapes are hammered for texture, sometimes heat-treated for color change and finally "stitched" together into 3-dimensional pillows or pods. Silver wire "threads" are a functional aspect to form the object and also add visual delight.The stitched-look is an inspiration from Schmidt's past. As a child she received primitive artifacts from her grandparents who were missionaries in Africa. She says her first work had a tribal feel that has since been pared away, but the stitching remains as a signature look.Schmidt's studio is in the Button Factory in Portsmouth. For the past 25 years, the building has served as a stew pot of artists working in close proximity. Meeting other jewelers, including Paulette Werger, gave her the courage to leave her administrative job and forge her own vision seven years ago.Schmidt's work can be seen at several open houses in Portsmouth this season. The Button Factory Open Studios is December 3 and 4 and the Portsmouth Artist Holiday Open House Tour is November 18, 19 and 20. In addition, she has been invited to participate at Kit Cornell's Annual Open House in Exeter on November 26 and 27.

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