Church Communion Tray Commission
In October 2019 the silver communion tray pictured above was dedicated to First Presbyterian Church in Aiken, SC. The entire process from designing it to making it to the dedication was a great experience I so enjoyed! This Blog post highlights this very special commission project for a church my family has been members of for four generations.
The church contacted me in the spring of 2019 and asked if I could make a custom, silver communion tray for them. The current tray they were using was not the right size or shape for the communion bread loaf, so they needed a more appropriate, oval shaped tray. During the communion ceremony the church also uses a silver chalice and flagon, or pitcher, both shown above, as well as small round silver bread trays to pass the bread throughout the congregation. All contributed to the design elements incorporated into the tray.
I worked very closely with the church’s committee on the design and met with them to discuss the project in depth and look at the existing church silver together. One extremely important item was the size and shape of the bread, because it would determine those elements of the tray. I did several rounds of drawings with numerous options for them to choose from. The existing silver pieces were so gorgeous they provided a lot of beautiful design inspiration!
The drawing above was the final rendering of the top view. I also provided other renderings of additional angles of the tray and all were drawn to scale of the actual object.
The chalice and some of the small, round bread trays have a bead rim in their design, so that element influenced the bead rim on the tray. Both the chalice and the flagon have very curved, flared shapes as part of their surface design that include on the chalice a chased floral pattern and on the flagon around the spout, so the tray handle design is a combination of those two motifs. The tray plate has a very slight curve, so when seen from the side angle it looks like angel wings lifting up. The dimensions of the tray plate were based on the size of the bread loaf used for communion.
The chalice and flagon both have an interesting past and during the Civil War they were hidden from the Union soldiers in a cistern. During both the Revolutionary War and Civil War, silver was frequently plundered from churches and private residences. Now it is not uncommon for historic silver pieces from the American South to show up in auctions in the American Northeast and England.
The chalice was made by Rogers Brothers Manufacturing in Hartford, CT between the dates of 1853-1861 and has the date 1856 hand engraved on the front of it. The flagon was made by Reed & Barton in Taunton, Massachusetts with the date unknown. Reed & Barton was founded in 1824 by silversmiths Henry Reed and Charles Barton, so we know if was made after 1824. I am still researching what the numbers stamped on the bottom mean and likely they hold the key to the date it was made.
Once the design was finalized and agreed upon, I created the tray out of sterling silver sheet and wire. It was an extremely challenging piece to make! The dimensions are 15.5″ length by 9″ width, so it is a very large and heavy object. The shape and curve to the tray plate required a lot of attention to detail and many rounds of hammering to get it in the correct shallow curve. The bead rim was a careful application on top of the flat, rectangular rim. In order for the slightly curved tray to stay stationary on the alter, I added a silver foot. The handles were the finishing touch to a very complex design.
The interior and exterior of the tray has a high shine, mirror finish, which to achieve over that large of a surface required many, many hours of sanding and polishing. The end result is stunning and worth every minute of time!
The perfect finishing touch was the gorgeous hand engraving on the back done by the very talented Kristina McClure, the only hand engraver in Charleston.
The inscription commemorates the dedication of the tray in celebration of First Presbyterian Church being located on Barnwell Avenue in Aiken, SC for fifty years. The worship service on October 27, 2019 was the church’s Jubilee celebration and the tray was dedicated then. It was a lovely service and a special day enjoyed by many. It was an honor to have created this silver tray to commemorate this momentous occasion. I love the idea that it will be used and enjoyed for many generations past mine and likely by my future family members.
If you are interested in commissioning a custom object or jewelry piece from me, then please check out my website Commission page that has examples of drawings and finished pieces. My Commission Policy outlines the details of commissioning me to make something unique and special for you. Thank you for your interest in my work!
PechaKucha 36 – Charleston Music Hall – 02/20/2020
PechaKucha, a series of rapid-fire presentations from an array of local creatives, will have its 36th show in Charleston on Thursday, February 20 in celebration of the first International PechaKucha Night alongside 1200 other cities. Each presenter will have approximately six minutes and forty seconds to discuss 20 specific images related to their profession for 20 seconds each. Emceed by musician and record producer Wolfgang Zimmerman, this lecture series will feature head chef/co-owner of Spanish taperia, Malagón Juan Cassalett; designer and silversmith Kaminer Haislip; actor, playwright, and educator Michael Smalwood; and more.
The event will be held at Charleston Music Hall, located at 37 John Street in downtown Charleston. Doors open at 6pm and presentations begin at 7pm.
To purchase tickets or to see the full list of presenters and additional details, visit https://www.charlestonmusichall.com/event/pk-charleston-36/
Silversmithing Workshop at American College of the Building Arts
American College of the Building Arts is hosting a week-long celebration with current women artisan and craftsmen that are masters in their fields. They will be conducting workshops, demonstrations, and a panel discussion. These courses are open to both students and the public.
As part of this special “Women in Trades Week”, Kaminer Haislip has been invited to teach a silversmithing workshop Monday, January 13 – Thursday, January 16. The class will focus on traditional silversmithing techniques with fabrication and forming as the main topics. Each student will make a round silver box like the shorter one below by Kaminer Haislip. The class description and details are below. Contact the American College of the Building Arts to sign up for this exciting workshop and rare chance to learn from Kaminer.
Introduction to Silversmithing
January 13 – 16
Learn basic silversmithing techniques with this beginner’s class that does not require experience. The centuries old method of forming and fabricating sheet silver to create objects will be the focus of this week long course. Traditional silversmith hollowing, hammering, forming, and fabrication techniques will be taught in order to create a silver box. Additional beginner’s techniques will be explored through piercing, filing, soldering, and finishing.
Professor: Kaminer Haislip
Kaminer Haislip, originally from Aiken, SC, earned her BFA in Jewelry and Metals and MFA in Silversmithing from Winthrop University where she studied under Alfred Ward, an internationally acclaimed English silversmith. Kaminer designs and creates functional objects and jewelry in her Charleston studio. In addition to her work as an artist, she is frequently commissioned to create custom designs in silver and gold. Her award-winning work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and featured in over sixty publications.
For more information or to register for the class visit https://acba.edu/wintercourses
Christmas Gifts for Her
Even though there seem to be many more options for Christmas gifts for her, women can be just as challenging to shop for as men. Sometimes too many options can be overwhelming, so I have highlighted an assortment of suggestions based on popular gifts for women people purchase from me as well as suggestions for the extremely picky lady or gal who has everything.
Jewelry seems like an obvious choice, but you need to know who you are shopping for, her style, and tastes. My silver link bracelets are adjustable, so you do not need to know what bracelet length she wears and I have a smooth finish option (Oyster Link Bracelet) and hammered finish option (Torc Link Bracelet). Bangles are also a nice jewelry gift, because she can stack them with other bracelets. All of my bangles come in two sizes, medium and large, and can be custom sized.
Necklaces are also a great gift depending on the style she likes to wear. A standout, statement necklace is a special gift for the lady with some flare.
A simple pendant for everyday wear is perfect for a woman of any age, from a young girl to a stylish older aunt. My pendants come with the choice of a 16″, 18″, or 20″ length silver cable chain.
Finally for the jewelry suggestions, are earrings.
Earrings like necklaces are also a matter of taste and style. Some ladies prefer to wear large, statement earrings and others tend to be more conservative or minimal with post or stud styles. I have a wide selection of all styles, so be sure to check out the various options.
Dresser or Vanity Objects
A pretty silver vase she can put flowers in for her dresser or vanity, a lovely silver dish to hold small items (see first image on post), or an elegant silver box to store jewelry or other small things all make thoughtful Christmas gifts for her.
Entertaining and Serving Utensils
Entertaining is year round and not just around the holidays, so for the hostess with the mostess and the lady who likes to entertain in style a lovely silver serving utensil or spoon is the perfect gift. It is a lasting gift she can use often for serving all the delicious dishes and appetizers she makes. I like mixing and matching styles and patterns, so do not be afraid to pair traditional silver styles with contemporary pieces.
A silver napkin ring is a wonderful gift, because you can start her on a collection. Then you have a go to gift for each birthday, holiday, or anniversary. Personalizing with hand engraving is a thoughtful touch with initials or to commemorate which occasion or date it was given on.
Finally, a festive silver Christmas ornament is a fun gift for all women. I offer a wide range of designs and most of them can be hand engraved. Choose one that fits her personality best!
All of these lovely silver Christmas gifts for her can be found in my website Shop, plus many more. Happy Holiday shopping!
Christmas Gifts for Him
Christmas shopping for a man can be difficult, because jewelry options are limited, clothing is hard to fit, and unless a man has a specific hobby, it is hard to come up with an exciting gift for him. Knowing this from the many clients who have come to me over the years asking for suggestions for Christmas gifts for him, I decided this year to do a Blog post with some suggestions for the challenging to shop for male.
Silver Bar Accessories
Silver cups, bar spoons, pitchers, wine coasters, and personalized decanter bottle tags are all great gifts for men. They are lasting gifts they can use when entertaining or making themselves that special drink.
Personalizing a silver decanter tag with his favorite spirit or poison is a thoughtful gift he will enjoy year round.
Other bar accessories he can use year round and display include a silver beaker or cup, cocktail pitcher, and wine coaster.
All of the silver cups, pitchers, and wine coasters can be personalized with hand engraving for a special touch.
Appetizer Serving Utensils
Appetizer serving utensils such as a cheese knife, spreader, appetizer fork, or condiment spoon are all great gifts for Foodie men. My husband loves a good cheese plate with charcuterie and enjoys as much as I do using our silver serving accessories for each yummy item. Once again, they are gifts that can be used year round!
Cufflinks & Collar Stays
Cufflinks add sophistication to a man’s attire and are a creative way he can express his personal style. Jewelry options tend to be limited for men, so cufflinks are a fashionable accessory to spruce up his look. Most of my cufflinks can be personalized with hand engraving and custom initial cufflinks are also a unique gift option.
Silver collar stays are another original gift idea that also can be personalized with hand engraving.
Dresser and Desk Objects
A silver box is a very useful gift for a man, because he can put it on his dresser to store cufflinks and other small items or on his desk. My husband has several silver boxes he uses and it is a classy way to store things and keep your desk tidy.
A silver dish like my Oyster Dish above (available in two sizes) is wonderful for a dresser or desk as well. They can be used to hold small items, such as change or keys, and function as a pen tray.
Finally, a festive silver Christmas ornament is a fun gift for all men. I offer a wide range of designs and most of them can be hand engraved. Choose one that fits his personality best!
All of these fun silver Christmas gifts for him can be found in my website Shop, plus many more. Happy Holiday shopping!