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Handcrafted Silver Spoons

Kaminer Haislip’s silver Flight of Fancy Serving Spoon

Handcrafted Silver Spoons

Serving up silver spoons for this Blog post! Since silversmithing has become an obscure craft, I have decided to write a series of posts that feature various traditional silversmithing processes I use to create my silver designs. As often as I am asked how I make my pieces, I have come to realize how little most people know about silversmithing. I took my first jewelry and silversmithing course over twenty years ago, so it has become extremely normal to me since I have done it practically every day since then!

The majority of the time, people only see my finished works and not the process, so they have no idea the amount of time, labor and skill that goes into making them. Through sharing some of my silversmithing techniques, I hope to give some insight into what it takes to craft my functional works of art.

silversmithing hammers jewelry hammers silversmith workshop jewelry studio
A selection of Kaminer Haislip’s silversmithing and jewelry hammers.

My journey to becoming a silversmith began long before my first college course and you can read about my background in detail on a former Blog post titled “How did you get into silversmithing?”. During my BFA studies at Winthrop University under Alfred Ward, an internationally acclaimed English silversmith, the first functional object I made was a silver spoon with laminated ebony handle. The spoon form has much significance to my functional work and I have continued to explore it since that first creation so many years ago. To view a selection of spoons I have made over the course of my career and the aforementioned first spoon visit my website Portfolio Spoons page.

silversmithing tools silversmith stakes metalsmithing workshop steel stake
Several of Kaminer’s steel silversmithing stakes

As covered in my previous Blog post on my forged silver cheese knife, all of my objects begin as sterling silver sheet and wire. For hollowing and forming silver sheet into functional objects, I hammer it over steel stakes that are the precise curve I need for an item, such as a silver spoon. The stake is held in a sturdy steel vise as shown below.

spoon stake silver spoon silversmithing technique handcrafted silver spoon
Spoon stake in vise

I use a rawhide mallet to form the spoon bowl, because it does not stretch the silver or leave marks in the surface.

traditional silversmithing technique handcrafting a silver spoon silversmith studio
Silver spoon bowl being formed over steel stake
sterling silver spoon charleston rice spoon serving spoon

Once the spoon bowl shape is formed, I planish it with a steel hammer to set the form precisely and work harden the metal, so it has strength when used to serve food.

Kaminer Haislip Charleston silversmith contemporary silver functional art
Silversmith Kaminer Haislip planishing the silver spoon bowl.

With the planishing technique I use small, light overlapping blows as shown up close below.

silver spoon bowl planish silversmith hammer silversmithing technique
Overlapping planishing hammer marks on the silver surface

The planishing process is one of my favorite silversmithing techniques! It requires focus, rhythm, and precision to hammer around and around consistently over the entire surface. I really enjoy planishing my silver spoons, but a coffeepot or teapot is an extensive challenge that I so revel in!

The two spoons highlighted in this Blog post are from my Flight of Fancy Series in which the handle design was inspired by the shape of a bird’s wing. The serving spoon (first image) has a traditional serving spoon length handle, but the Charleston Rice Spoon has a longer handle. The silver Charleston Rice Spoon, derived from the English Stuffing Spoon, historically had a long handle. During the 18th and 19th centuries rice was an immensely important crop to Charleston’s economy and the rice spoon was created due to it. My contemporary design is based on the historic form and gives a nod to tradition while still looking forward.

Both spoon styles are very popular wedding gifts, so be sure to check them out in my website Shop Home category. A handcrafted silver spoon certainly serves a purpose when stylishly entertaining!

Charleston Gallery Representation

Helena Fox Fine Art Charleston art gallery
silver coffeepot with purple heart wood handle
This silver and purple heart wood coffeepot is now sold exclusively through
Helena Fox Fine Art.

Charleston Gallery Representation

I am extremely excited to announce Helena Fox Fine Art is now representing my handcrafted silver designs in their stunning downtown Charleston art gallery! They are now carrying on an on going basis a curated selection of my silver hollowware, flatware, home objects, and jewelry. Some items, such as the silver coffeepot shown above, will be sold exclusively through them. Noted on my website Shop are those items, so you must get in contact with them or visit their gorgeous art gallery in order to purchase them.

They are formally welcoming me on Friday, March 1 from 5-8pm during the Charleston Gallery Association artwalk. During that event and on Saturday, March 2 from 11am-4pm, a wider selection of my silver home objects and jewelry will be shown. I hope to see you at one of those events!

Helena Fox Fine Art historic downtown Charleston art gallery South of Broad
Helena Fox Fine Art is located in the historic South of Broad neighborhood in downtown Charleston, SC

Helena Fox Fine Art
106-A Church Street
Charleston, SC 29401
www.helenafoxfineart.com

Schoonhoven Silver Award 2018 – The Netherlands Silver Museum

netherlands silver museum

schoonhoven silver award 2018

Schoonhoven Silver Award 2018 – The Netherlands Silver Museum

Kaminer Haislip’s silver vessel Gradual Erosion was accepted into the international silver object (no jewelry) exhibition Schoonhoven Silver Award 2018!

The exhibition is hosted by The Netherlands Silver Museum in Schoonhoven and opened December 7, 2018. Schoonhoven Silver Award 2018 will be on display for three months before traveling to cities in Belgium and Germany until November 2019.

etched silver vessel

Schoonhoven Silver Award 2018 includes a wide variety of silversmiths from all over the world and its goal was to inspire artists to test and explore the boundaries of their traditional art and craft. The Netherlands Silver Museum sought objects that bear a direct relationship with the museum’s policy of stimulating the exploration of new technologies and uses, and innovative art forms. Innovation, as envisioned in the Award’s present edition, centers on the rejuvenation of past, time-honored techniques and on the preservation of this heritage through injecting dynamic new life into the art of silversmithing.

silver vase

The international Schoohnoven Silver Award exhibition began in 2001 and 2018 is the seventh edition of this unique silversmithing focused exhibition. Kaminer Haislip’s silver and ebony teapot Perched Flight was included in the 2009 exhibition Poetry in Silver, so she is excited and honored to exhibit again with her new silver vessel Gradual Erosion.

etched silver vessel

Gradual Erosion is currently available for sale, but will not be available for delivery until after the exhibition travels to two other European countries and ends in November 2019. Gradual Erosion will be returned to Kaminer Haislip after the exhibition and you can contact her directly for details at kaminer@kaminerhaislip.com.

To learn more about Gradual Erosion, visit its product page on this website’s Shop at https://www.kaminerhaislip.com/silver-art-jewelry-baby/gradual-erosion-silver/

To learn more about The Netherlands Silver Museum or Schoonhoven Silver Award 2018 visit the two links below.

https://zilvermuseum.com/en/

https://zilvermuseum.com/en/4919-2/

Night of 1000 Lights – December 2018

Night of 1000 Lights

Night of 1000 Lights – Downtown Aiken, SC

Kaminer Haislip is participating in the annual Night of 1000 Lights in historic downtown Aiken, SC on Thursday, December 6 from 6-8pm. Sponsoring businesses will stay open late, thousands of gorgeous luminaries will line the streets of downtown Aiken, and there will be wide variety of fun holiday activities taking place. This exciting event, organized by the Aiken Downtown Development Association, is a tradition not to be missed!

True Value Aiken SC

During the event, Kaminer’s handcrafted silver jewelry, functional objects, and Christmas ornaments will be displayed for sale at her family’s business, True Value Hardware & Appliance, located at 121 Laurens Street.  Stop by True Value to see her work and enjoy some holiday cheer!

aiken

http://www.visitaikensc.com/whattodo/detail/aiken_downtown_development_association_adda

http://www.downtownaiken.com/

Helena Fox Fine Art – Charleston, SC

helena fox fine art

silver oyster bracelet

 

Helena Fox Fine Art – Makers Market

Kaminer Haislip’s silver jewelry, functional objects, and Christmas ornaments will be exhibited for sale at Helena Fox Fine Art for their first Makers Market Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 from 11am-4pm. Shop this special gallery event for unique, handmade holiday gifts!

Located South of Broad in historic, downtown Charleston, SC, Helena Fox Fine Art specializes in fine American representational art featuring artists from around the country.

106-A Church Street
Charleston, SC 29401

www.helenafoxfineart.com

World Equestrian Games – September 2018

world equestrian games

 

World Equestrian Games – Tryon International Equestrian Center

The FEI World Equestrian Games take place in Mill Spring, NC from September 11 – September 23, 2018. Kaminer Haislip’s silver jewelry and objects will be on display for the duration of the games at Julie Keyes Art Gallery in the vendor village of the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Kaminer will be in attendance at the games to promote her work with the renowned Julie Keyes Art Consulting, located in both The Hamptons and New York City, on Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23. If you are an equestrian enthusiast attending the games, then stop by Julie Keyes’ gallery to see Kaminer’s work along side the blue chip fine art she will be exhibiting!

The FEI World Equestrian Games, held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining eight equestrian World Championship caliber events in a pre-determined location. The FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – are all included on the competition schedule, while equestrian-focused demonstrations and exhibitions will also be hosted throughout the duration of the event.

To learn more visit https://tryon2018.com/ or http://wncmagazine.com/tryon2018?wpnd_cid=0ad944ac73de3597

tryon international equestrian center

Silver and Indigo Charleston Exhibition Lecture – September 8, 2018

silver and indigo

 

Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver Exhibition Lecture

Saturday, September 8 at 2pm

Works by Kaminer Haislip, Leigh Magar, and Jack Alterman

Curated by Brandy S. Culp

August 25, 2018 – October 7, 2018

City Gallery
34 Prioleau Street
Charleston, South Carolina

The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver, on view at City Gallery through October 7, 2018. This exhibition features approximately 60 works by three contemporary Lowcountry artists who explore indigo and silver as both conceptual inspiration and materials of handicraft. Silversmith Kaminer Haislip, textile designer Leigh Magar, and photographer Jack Alterman exhibit independent pieces as well as collaborative installations in media ranging from silver hollowware, flatware and jewelry to textile art, portraiture, and photography. The exhibition was curated by Brandy S. Culp, Richard Koopman Curator of Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, who has worked closely with these artists over a two-year period.

An artists’ talk will be held at City Gallery on Saturday, September 8 at 2 p.m. Both the gallery and lecture are free and open to the public.

Charleston Magazine – September 2018

Charleston Magazine interviewed silversmith Kaminer Haislip about the collaborative exhibition Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver, which includes her, textile artist Leigh Magar, photographer Jack Alterman, and curator Brandy Culp. Maura Hogan wrote the lovely complimentary Charleston Magazine article below. The exhibition will be on display at the City Gallery in historic downtown Charleston, SC August 25-October 7, 2018. An artist lecture will take place Saturday, September 8 at 2pm.

Visit Kaminer’s website Blog for details.

 

charleston magazine september 2018

 

charleston magazine september 2018 cover

Forging Ahead

By Maura Hogan

Kaminer Haislip was more or less born with a silver spoon in her mouth. “We always had a set of silver for every day,” she recalls of her childhood in Aiken. It’s no wonder she now creates functional works of art in the precious metal—from sleek pitchers to delicate jewelry. After she earned her MFA in silversmithing from Winthrop University in 2005, stylish Southerners began seeking Haislip’s striking pieces; among them was Reese Witherspoon, whose lifestyle brand, Draper James, included her “Magnolia Bowl” in its inaugural 2015 collection. Haislip’s latest project is an exhibit at the City Gallery, “Interwoven: The Art of Indigo & Silver,” guest curated by Brandy S. Culp, which displays her work alongside that of photographer Jack Alterman and textile artist Leigh Magar.

Early inspiration: I grew up in my family’s hardware and appliance business. Being around all of the tools and equipment showed me that working with my hands could be a career. I became interested in metalsmithing in high school when I saw the metal sculptures at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC.

Artistic aesthetic: My work is clean, fluid, and modern. I like the traditions of silver, but I try to design within my own time and not just replicate the pieces my grandparents had.

On the process: I make everything entirely by hand through almost the same techniques as colonial silversmiths. Fortunately for me, technology has advanced—I have rolling mills for silver sheet, compressed gas for my torch, and polishing machines for buffing.

 

silversmith Kaminer Haislip

Silversmith Kaminer Haislip’s elegant-but-practical works are on display in a new City Gallery exhibit

Hidden meanings: Most of my pieces have an underlying concept. My “Nest Bowl,” made of woven sterling silver wire, stems from the idea that how one builds a home by selecting objects is similar to how a bird collects things like twigs and branches for a nest.

Creating a home: My home décor is very eclectic—everything from midcentury vintage and antique pieces my husband and I have inherited to Michael Moran furniture. Contemporary art rules the walls, but we collect from all craft media and periods.

“Interwoven”: Indigo and silver were integral to Charleston’s early economy. Indigo crops generated wealth, and silver was a literal display of that capital. While Leigh and I are both inspired by our mediums’ historical significance, our work is very contemporary in form. Jack’s photos explore indigo and silver through portraits of other local artists who are also influenced by the materials.

Exhibit highlight: Leigh and I collaborated on an installation inspired by the silhouette and the miniature, both traditional Lowcountry art forms. I made three silver oval frames, and Leigh created silhouette-inspired indigo textile portraits to go inside.

To see the full feature, visit http://charlestonmag.com/features/forging_ahead

Silver and Indigo Exhibition Opening + New Designs

silver and indigo exhibition

Silver Rice Spoon by Kaminer Haislip and Boo Hag Blue Indigo Baskets by Leigh Magar
Photograph by Jack Alterman

Silver and Indigo Exhibition Opening + New Designs

Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver exhibition opens to the public this evening, Friday, August 24, with a reception at City Gallery from 5-7pm. See below post for details on this Charleston silver and indigo exhibition and the Press page on this website for publicity. An artists’ lecture will take place at City Gallery Saturday, September 8 from 2-3pm. Both events and the gallery are free and open to the public.

Kaminer Haislip’s silver objects and jewelry exhibited in Interwoven is for sale. Purchases can be made by going to the Interwoven Exhibition Shop category on this website or by emailing info@kaminerhaislip.com. To view the pieces in the exhibition, visit the Interwoven Exhibition Portfolio category on this website. Both categories are temporary and will only be up for the exhibition duration.

Interwoven will be on view August 25-October 7, 2018. Do not miss this rare chance to see Kaminer’s silver objects and jewelry in person! Her fine art exhibitions mainly take place in the northeast and in museums around the country. It is extremely uncommon for her large scale hollowware to be seen in Charleston due to the lack of contemporary craft and design venues. We hope you will not pass up this extraordinary opportunity!

Kaminer’s website has been updated with her latest designs created specifically for Interwoven. Visit the Interwoven Exhibition categories mentioned above to view the artworks in the exhibition and to make purchases. Also, visit her Home and Jewelry Shop categories for additional new designs that are not in the exhibition.

Rio Grande

 

A wholesale supplier to jewelers and metalsmiths since 1944, Rio Grande is proud to sponsor the work of acclaimed silversmith Kaminer Haislip in Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver.

 

 

Kaminer Haislip’s involvement in this exhibition is funded also in part by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Program, through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program, and by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation.

Charleston City Paper – August 2018

Charleston City Paper featured on August 15, 2018 Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver, the collaborative exhibition that includes artists Kaminer Haislip, Leigh Magar, Jack Alterman, and curator Brandy Culp. Chase Quinn wrote the wonderful Charleston City Paper article below. The exhibition will be on display at the City Gallery in historic downtown Charleston, SC August 25-October 7, 2018. Visit Kaminer’s website Blog for details.

charleston city paper

Making the past present at City Gallery’s Interwoven exhibit

All That Glitters

By Chase Quinn

silver and indigo baskets

 

As Southern Living extolls, “The Good Silver is a Southern stalwart.” Indeed, one automatically pictures immaculate tea sets and monogrammed flatware passed down generation after generation, of the sort you might find on display at the Charleston Museum. On the other side of the silver coin, there’s the stock and lash of chattel slavery, required to extract the indigo that lined the pockets of wealthy planters and set the table, so to speak, for standards of wealth and culture.

It’s a history of which Brandy S. Culp, the Richard Koopman Curator of Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn. and guest curator of the City Gallery’s upcoming exhibit Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver, is well aware. The exhibit, she explains, is “ultimately about layers of history and meaning, and how we find meaning in materials.” The show will feature three artists heavily influenced by Charleston history and culture including silversmith Kaminer Haislip, textile designer Leigh Magar, and photographer Jack Alterman.

The project began two years ago when Haislip, one of the few formally-trained silversmiths practicing in Charleston, and Magar, known for her “seed to stitch” project, which takes indigo grown in her own garden and uses it to create hand-dyed and hand-stitched garments and goods, approached Culp.

“They wanted me to guest curate this exhibit, so we started with discussions of silver and indigo and how they related.”

With her rich background in the history of decorative arts, Culp explains that indigo and silver were both highly prized as raw materials throughout the ages, globally traded as commodities, and historically transformed by artisans into objects of desire.

“There’s a lot of commonality between these two as raw materials,” she says, “So what these artists have done is they are looking at these two transformative and symbolically imbued mediums and exploring how people actually shaped resources that, in turn, influenced society.”

In fact, it is South Carolina’s own Eliza Lucas Pinckney, the 16-year-old daughter of a wealthy planter, who is credited with first introducing and successfully cultivating indigo in the American colonies in 1742. Long before the ubiquity of today’s blue jeans, at the time, indigo dye was rare and expensive. Like silver, it was a symbol of status and wealth. In the two decades after its introduction, indigo would become one of the colony’s largest exports, second only to rice. That also led to a spike in the importation of enslaved labor to carry out the challenging and time-intensive process of extracting the dye, which could involve pounding the plant for up to 20 hours.

The title of the show, Interwoven, however, refers not only to this shared history and symbolism, but also to how the past and present are worked into the artists’ contemporary interpretations of these mediums. Culp explains, for example, that while Magar and Haislip have collaborated on a number of pieces for the exhibit that meld the elements of indigo and silver, they will also be displaying individual works. For Haislip, that means giving visitors, far removed from the processes of metalwork, the experience of how she forms and forges her pieces, which, while heavily influenced by tradition, are completely contemporary in their design.

“In today’s society, so many people look at her work and think that it must be cast, or that it’s fabricated,” says Culp. “She is a traditional silversmith still using a lot of the tools and the processes that people have been using for hundreds of years.”

Alterman, a Charleston native perhaps best known for his diverse portraits that capture the city’s many faces, was brought in to tie the whole story together. Through his photography, he will not only document the work on display, but will also have a series of portraits of other local artisans directly or indirectly connected to the craftmanship of indigo and silver.

In addition to the label copy that will provide some historical context for the role Africans and African Americans played in the production of indigo and silver, Culp indicates that Alterman’s contribution is also important because his portraits showcase contemporary African-American artists working in or connected to these mediums as well, including Jonathan Green and Arianne King Comer.

“This exhibit is not a comprehensive look at the subject of indigo and silver,” she acknowledges. “It’s a very specific look at these materials through the eyes of three artists. There are so many talented people that are both metalworkers and textile artists involved in indigo.”

To get a full picture of this interweaving narrative, Culp also recommends that audiences attend the artist talk, which will take place on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m., where the exhibitors will be on hand to discuss the most important stories in their work and to take audience questions.

Portfolio Items