Sara Thompson

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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    I am an accomplished silversmith with a BFA in Craft with a concentration in metals from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. I've apprenticed as a bench jeweler and have moved into using traditional silversmithing to explore the vessel and the intimate connection of handheld functional objects. My work honors historical silversmithing while creating silver objects with a fresh, minimal, and contemporary aesthetic.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: I work in sterling silver. All my work begins as flat sheet or round wire. Every vessel I make I rediscover how much I love my process. I use traditional silversmithing techniques to take flat sheets of silver and hammer them up into three dimensional forms. Using a hammering process called raising, I strike the metal in key places to introduce angles into the form. After rounds and rounds of raising, the form begins to grow upwards in volume and curvature. After I'm satisfied with the rough form of vessel, I use another hammering technique called planishing to delicately hammer the entire surface of the piece creating small facets. Planishing helps smooth out the surface of the form from the deeper and rougher hammer blows due to the raising process. I then file the entire outside surface to remove all of the hammer marks. The final finishing steps include sanding the piece to give it a silky satin finish.

    A: Silver is like the goldilocks of metals for me. I've made hammered copper and brass pieces, but the way those metals move is different from silver. Copper feels too sticky or elastic whereas brass is too stiff for my liking. Silver is soft and forgiving. It moves but also holds its form. The hammering process is like you're having a dialog between you, your tools, and the metal. It's an intuitive process that comes through practice and understanding how to move the metal--where to hammer it in the exact place to finetune the curvature. The first couple rounds of raising are rough and sometimes I question myself as to what I'm doing. But later on I see the final form emerge and remind myself about how much I love the process and knowledge of moving the metal.

    A: It's taken me many months during this pandemic to shift my thinking from trying to work normally as I would to now thinking about showing up in my studio to simply be there. It's not about the final piece, but the act of trying to keep to a routine and follow my intuitive creativity and slowing down. In 2019 I was traveling around the country every 4-6 weeks to do a show and it was really hard on me. It was difficult on me to refocus and recharge as an introvert and to have the clarity to think about new work. The benefits of the last year has largely been to stay home, consume books, and reflect on my practice. I've adopted the perspective that I'm weathering the storm and waiting things out. So I'll putter around my studio in between binge reading.

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