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ArtWalk offers a fresh take on silver

Article Published: Oct. 19, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
ArtWalk offers a fresh take on silver

ArtWalk is featuring one of its newest jewelers this week, Laura Cardwell.

A native of Bristol, Va., Cardwell came to Boone to attend Appalachian State University, where she majored in creative writing and minored in photography. Afterwards, she moved to the Ashville are, where she now resides, and worked for a few years as a photographer before becoming a full-time metalsmith.

In her jewelry line, Silver Song Jewelry, several of the pieces carry the warm copper hues of autumn, while many others welcome the winter months with their cool, antiqued, silver color. The frigid pallet is carried farther by icy, blue, faceted crystals; snowy, white pearls; and frosty, milky gemstones. The wintry collection is only broken by a few, slightly more springy pieces containing yellow and pink accents.

A few botanical references are apparent in some of the pieces in the form of leaves and vines, but a mechanical theme prevails in the collection. With wheels, rivets, constructions that allude to fulcrums or pulleys, caged and framed stones, hammered slivers of silver, and rotating hinged pieces, Cardwell's jewelry implies motion and exemplifies the calculated exactness of man-made instruments while also exuding an organic origin.

This corresponds with her artist statement, in which she explains being awestruck by the pureness and geometry of nature: "I am inspired by the spaces in nature: the stillness between two raindrops in a puddle, the perfection of a bare branch in the wintertime, the consistency and uniqueness of each leaf. My work currently consists of forging, fusing and anticlastic raising in argentium silver and 14kt rose gold. As in nature, each piece grows differently; pick the one you like and enjoy!"

Cardwell started making beaded jewelry after the birth of her first daughter, selling her creations at music festivals while her husband performed. When she learned she would be having another child, she started taking classes in metal-smithing and trained under Bill Churlik at Earthspeak Arts. By the time her second child was born, she was a full-time metal-smith.

Cardwell offers a card along with each piece that contains her artist statement, information about the unique silver she uses, and instructions on how to clean the pieces. In many of her pieces, she uses argentium silver, an alloy of silver that resists tarnishing, to which she applies a stable, artificial tarnish and polishes to a smooth satin finish.

Laura Cardwell's jewelry is located on ArtWalk's main level in a jewelry case at the very front of the shop. With three and a half floors and more than 300 local, regional and national artists, ArtWalk is located at 611 W. King St. (across from Mast General Store) Boone, N.C. 28607.

Though ArtWalk is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m, customers may shop all the time at the gallery's online store. ArtWalk continually welcomes new artists of all media and ages to inquire about individual gallery booths for rent. For more information, call (828) 264-9998, email ( or visit

Gallery Times
Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of the Focus section of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.
For more information, contact entertainment editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or (828) 264-6397.

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