Meet the Artist
About This Artist
Melissa Hampton is a contemporary jewelry artist from Missouri. She first became fascinated the idea of adornment after inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage jewelry as a child. She went on to earn an MFA in Metals and Jewelry and now designs unique mixed metal jewelry in silver, gold, and gemstones using techniques such as fabrication and a special technique she calls "Flow" where she fuses alloys onto sterling silver to create unique and "painterly" compositions on her pieces.
Q&A With This Artist
A: My work is hand fabricated and uses techniques that merge traditional metalsmithing and playful experimentation. My studio processes poetically interweave with content as I am inspired by origin stories and regeneration. I have built a reservoir of recycled tools and materials that once served important past lives, and I imprint these histories on the work by building layers of texture. I also incorporate recycled metals to highlight the cyclical nature of creation, destruction, and renewal.
A: Adornment is a sacred act. Our outward presentation often speaks to our shared histories. Jewelry, in particular, due to the enduring nature of metal and stone, has the unique ability to connect us to our ancestors through heirloom pieces. This has manifested in my own life through an inheritance of my grandmother's jewelry which bloomed into an obsession with this field, a thesis that explored her extraordinary life through jewelry, and a career that connects me to others through wearable art.
A: Two main aspects about my work are unique: concept and flow. Often times, jewelry is viewed as a craft that, while it often leads with aesthetic beauty, can lack concept. I think my jewelry subverts that. Although I make very wearable work, it is rife with meaning. Every texture, mark, stone, and process has purpose. I also incorporate a special technique in gold and silver that I call "Flow." It brings a painterly and playful quality to the work and is a cornerstone of my entire jewelry line.
A: Every day I experience tremendous wonder in the materials I work with, the history of those materials, the craft itself, and the methods and tools I use to execute the craft, the history of myself, my family, how those histories inform the content of my work, and how my work enters the world through the people who wear it thus building a history of its own. Jewelry is the divine intersection where my interest in the spiritual meets the physicality of the body. What could be more wondrous?
A: There are too many to name, but it all started with my maternal grandmother, who I unfortunately never got to meet. My connection to her through her jewelry collection ultimately led to my love for jewelry. The incredible circumstances of her life and her untimely death created my drive for serious exploration and expression of my family history through sculptural jewelry. This led me to art school where I met my husband who now runs this business with me. In a way, she led me to my purpose.
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