Sara Thompson


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I use traditional silversmithing techniques to explore the vessel and the intimate connection of handheld functional objects. I’m drawn to the simplicity in the process of taking a flat sheet of silver and hammering it into a three dimensional object. The resulting vessel is a form we encounter everyday, an object that both occupies space and contains it. I use these pieces to serve as points of convergence between minimal design, historical craft, and ordinary objects.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I use traditional silversmithing techniques to make my pieces. I take flat sheets of silver and hammer them up into three dimensional forms to create bowls, trays, and teapots. I use other historical techniques to construct functional spoons from silver sheet and wire.

    A: I love working in silver. It’s like the Goldilocks metal for me. It moves easily and retains its form during the hammering processes. I enjoy creating vessels because with each piece I make I further my understanding of how to move metal. I’m fascinated with the process of a using few hammers, a couple of special steel tools, a torch, a file and some sandpaper to transform a flat disk of silver into a beautiful object.

    A: I apprenticed under a bench jeweler from the ages of 11 to 16. I graduated high school at 16 and then moved to Portland, OR to start my BFA a week after I turned 17. I went to Oregon College of Art and Craft and completed my BFA in Craft when I was 20. During those four years I thrived in the mentor-based environment and really focused on traditional silversmithing.

    A: I find inspiration from imagery I've collected over the years of contemporary silversmithing. I print out images and hang them up in my studio right above my bench. The hundreds of images linger in the back of my mind when I'm working or that I end up staring at when taking a break or eating lunch. It's like having a physical Pinterest board. Instead of staring at a screen, I can see everything at once and look at lots of different forms, curvature, and spoon styles.

    A: After the closure of OCAC, there was a sense of loss in the Portland craft community. My mentor from the college, Christine Clark, and her wife, Mary Clark, started NinetyTwenty Studios in Portland. With other local organizations, the Clarks were able to create a space to honor the legacy of OCAC and keep craft alive. NinetyTwenty has several private studios and a teaching classroom with metal tools from OCAC to offer classes and pass on the knowledge of craft to the next generation.

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