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Daughters of the American Revolution – American Heritage Award

dar dar

Daughters of the American Revolution – American Heritage Award

captain joshua hadley

Captain Joshua Hadley silver necklace by Kaminer Haislip

I am so incredibly proud to announce I have been honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution with a prestigious award for the annual American Heritage Competition. My sterling silver necklace Captain Joshua Hadley was awarded the American Heritage Award for Crafts, First Place in the Jewelry category! It is such an honor and privilege to receive this prominent award for my artwork. The theme this year was Rise, and Shine Your Light on Your Revolutionary War Patriot and Captain Joshua Hadley is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather and DAR Patriot.  

american revolution
Captain Joshua Hadley silver necklace by Kaminer Haislip

Captain Joshua Hadley served in the 1st North Carolina Regiment, Continental Army from 1775 until 1787. My design for this necklace was informed by detailed research I did on his service in the Revolutionary War. The five units comprising the necklace were hand pierced from sterling silver sheet and formed utilizing traditional silversmithing techniques. Each charm has a specific meaning and they are outlined below.

Captains wore an epaulette on their right shoulder to signify rank, so when worn that charm is the upper right side. Captains also wore a white cockade on their hat to identify their status, so the radiating circular shape is my interpretation of the ribbon rosette. The surface designs on the epaulette and cockade were hand drawn onto the silver sheet and then etched with an acid technique to create the textured lines.

The center form is a Gorget, which traces its history back to medieval times when it was worn as a piece of armor around the neck to protect the throat. Over time the shape, size, and function changed and by the 17th century it became a symbol of rank among military officers of many countries. At this point it was suspended around the neck with a chain or ribbon and was purely decorative. Additionally, the white crescent shape on the blue South Carolina flag is thought to be partly inspired by the Gorget shape. Captain Joshua Hadley fought in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, SC on June 28, 1776. The flag played a prominent role in the battle that day and the Americans successfully defeated the British, which was a turning point in the war and led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, the Gorget also represents Charleston in this piece and where I live. On the back of the Gorget is hand engraved “Captain Joshua Hadley”.

gorget

Back of Gorget charm on necklace hand engraved 

Joshua Hadley was an Original Member of the Society of the Cincinnati and an eagle is their insignia. The fourth charm represents his membership in the oldest patriotic organization in the United States. I used the Society of the Cincinnati eagle that is on his graver marker as inspiration for the design, which was etched with the same technique as described above. 

society of the cincinnati eagle

Captain Joshua Hadley’s grave in Tennessee

The final charm is in the shape of North Carolina, which represents his home state during the war and his Regiment. On June 20, 1775 he joined other patriots to form an association of the Sons of Liberty at Liberty Point in what is now Fayetteville, NC. The document they signed that evening contained the statement “We stand ready to sacrifice our lives to secure her freedom”. A granite memorial later erected at the site to commemorate the event includes their names and that statement. Hand engraved on the front of the state is that phrase and the date is on the back.            

north carolina charm

Front of North Carolina silver charm with hand engraving

north carolina silver necklace

Back of North Carolina silver charm with hand engraving

liberty point north carolina

Liberty Point in historic, downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina

revolutionary war monument

Monument at Liberty Point in historic, downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina

american revolution monument

Captain Joshua Hadley’s name on the monument

The theme of this year’s competition, Rise, and Shine Your Light on Your Revolutionary War Patriot, motivated me to dig deeper into my great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s military service in order to create an artwork representative of his patriotism. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey and learning experience, which broadened my knowledge of the war and put my artwork on a new path. The United States of America has an extraordinary history that should be studied, celebrated, honored, protected, and passed on to future generations proudly. Hopefully through this silver necklace Captain Joshua Hadley’s contribution to the American Revolution as well as that part of our great country’s history shines.

I will receive the award formally at DAR Continental Congress in June and I am so excited to highlight my wonderful Charleston DAR Rebecca Motte Chapter during this special event! Rebecca Motte’s father Robert Brewton and grandfather Miles Brewton were two of the most accomplished and talented silversmiths of colonial Charleston. Hopefully I am representing our chapter namesake well!

Through both this award and my involvement in DAR, an exceptional national non-profit organization and genealogical society, I strive to honor my American Revolution patriot and family heritage. For more information on DAR and our dedication to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children please visit http://www.dar.org/.

Find Joy in Art Auction – May 17-28, 2021

find joy in art auction

Find Joy in Art Auction – May 17-28, 2021

“Find Joy in Art” is an online art auction organized by the South Carolina Arts Foundation in order to help support SC artists. The amazing array of artwork by some of SC’s most accomplished and established artists represents the wide variety of media employed by our local contemporary creatives. Art items up for bid include elegant pieces of jewelry, masterful paintings, compelling photographs, functional and decorative ceramic or glass objects, beautiful textiles, virtuoso hand-pulled prints and well-designed and built furniture.

For more details on the auction, how to bid, the participating artists and their artwork, visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/foundation/find-joy-in-art-auction/

I was honored by the invitation to participate in this exciting benefit initiative alongside so many amazing contemporary, SC artists I greatly admire! A carefully curated selection of my silver jewelry and functional home objects will be available in the auction. Be sure to register at the link above in order to view my work and the other incredible artwork featured in this charitable event. Most importantly, bid on artwork to help support SC artists!

find joy in art auction

SC artists have reported due to the coronavirus pandemic, 95% have experienced loss, 66% have experienced unanticipated expenditures, and 63% have become fully unemployed. Cancelled events, exhibitions, markets, performances, concerts, festivals, openings, and many more arts related functions that generate revenue and a livelihood for artists have contributed to this astonishing loss. Creativity is at the heart of our culture and without it, there is certainly less joy in our beloved state, cities, towns, and communities. For that reason and many more it is so important to support this art auction and SC artists.

“Find Joy in Art” is coordinated by the SC Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1972 dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of South Carolina. Throughout its history, the Foundation has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state. Learn more about this incredible arts organization at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/foundation/

“How did you get into silversmithing?”

“How did you get into silversmithing?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive.

I discuss it briefly in my Bio posted on my website, but I get the same question so often I decided to share more of my story on my Blog.

 

silversmithing studio

Kaminer Haislip working in her silversmithing studio

 

Aiken, South Carolina, which received Southern Living’s 2018 award for The South’s Best Small Town, is my hometown. I grew up in my family’s business True Value Hardware & Appliance, which is located on the main street of Aiken’s historic downtown. My grandfather Bill Franklin started the hardware store as a side project when he was an accountant at Savannah River Site. When my parents Det and Lyanne Haislip were married, my father took over the business.

 

True Value Aiken SC

True Value Hardware & Appliance in historic downtown Aiken, SC

 

As children, my brother Wylie, cousins Anne and Franklin, and I spent a lot of time there, especially at Christmas. As you can see in the picture below, we had so much fun with the toys, go carts, and window displays!

 

hardware store 1980's

Kaminer with her brother and cousins in the hardware store as children in the 1980’s

 

In high school, I worked in the hardware store and that is when my interest began in making sculpture and jewelry. Being around all of the tools and equipment, putting together bikes and toys, and cutting keys is now an obvious connection to how working with my hands became my career.

 

True Value Aiken SC

True Value newspaper feature from 1990’s

 

When I was in high school, I took the industrial tech class, because I wanted to learn how to make sculptures in metal and wood. Being the only girl in the class did not bother me at all and I took to learning welding and wood working immediately. One of my first wood sculptures is shown below. Displayed in a downtown Aiken park not far from my family’s business, it was my first artwork exhibited outside of a school setting.

 

sculpture

Sculpture from high school in 1990’s

 

I knew by then I wanted to be a professional artist and major in jewelry and sculpture in college, so I sought out a college with a strong jewelry and sculpture program. After careful deliberation, I decided the small liberal arts college Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC would be the best fit for me. Alfred Ward, an English silversmith from London, was head of the jewelry and metals program and I was excited to study under such a renowned silversmith.

 

silver ebony wood spoon

Silver and ebony wood spoon from undergraduate studies

 

The first functional silver object I made studying under Alf was the silver spoon with ebony wood handle shown above. This piece is significant to my work, because it was the first time I laminated silver and wood. I continue to use this method of fabrication for spoon, teapot and coffeepot handles, because it creates strength in the handle and a beautiful line of silver down the center.

 

art gallery

Kaminer and her brother Wylie at her first gallery exhibition

 

From there I was hooked on silversmithing, because it combined my interest in jewelry techniques and sculptural forms. My graduation exhibition with my classmates in Charlotte, NC was my first commercial art gallery exhibit. Pictured above is me with my brother Wylie looking at one of my display cases at the opening reception. After graduating with my BFA in Jewelry and Metals, I moved to Charlotte and started my MFA silversmithing studies under Alf at Winthrop.

 

Sir John Cass London Metropolitan University

Kaminer and her professor Alf at Sir John Cass London Metropolitan University in London, England

 

While in graduate school, I focused on silversmithing and immersed myself in it completely. During that time, I also taught the Jewelry II and III classes and jewelry workshops at Winthrop. Additionally, I interned and was a docent at the Mint Museum, where I learned up close the history of craft and design and how a professional institution operates. During the summer of 2004, I went to London for a family trip and my MFA thesis research. Alf and his wife were in England visiting family, so he was kind enough to meet us in London and show us around. Pictured above is me with Alf in the stake room of Sir John Cass London Metropolitan University, where Alf was formerly head of the silversmithing and jewelry department.

 

silver teapot

Perched Flight silver and ebony wood teapot

 

In 2005 I graduated with my MFA in Silversmithing and Design with a minor in Sculpture. The first teapot I made was Perched Flight and it is silver with an ebony wood handle that is laminated with silver in the center. It was the central piece to my MFA thesis exhibition and after was accepted to five national exhibitions and one international exhibition. I became very attached to it, so it is now in me and my husband’s collection.

Immediately following graduation, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina and established my studio and business. Three years later my husband Matt and I had our wedding reception at the William Aiken House. My hometown was named for William Aiken and he is my great-great-great-great uncle.

 

Charleston Weddings Magazine

Charleston Weddings Magazine feature – see full article on website Press page

 

My path to silversmithing began at a very young age, but it wasn’t until I started my business and began exhibiting my work nationally that people started asking me “How did you get into silversmithing?”. When I thought about it and shared my story, I realized how unusual it is for a girl to grow up in a small southern town hardware store and become a contemporary silversmith. Really?!

For less lengthy answers to frequently asked questions, visit my FAQ page on my website!

 

Helena Fox Fine Art Gallery – November 2020

helena fox fine art helena fox fine art gallery

Helena Fox Fine Art – Charleston, SC

Helena Fox Fine Art, who represents my handcrafted silver designs and regularly carries a curated selection of my silver hollowware, flatware, home objects, and jewelry in their stunning downtown Charleston art gallery, is hosting a special Open House event featuring my artwork Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14 from 12-4pm. During that time the gallery will be open to the public and there is the option for a private viewing. Please contact the gallery to set up individual appointments.

You can read the full press release about the event on my website Press page.

I will exhibit a wider variety of my silver objects, original jewelry designs, and Christmas ornaments than what the gallery usually shows during this unique event. I hope to see you there!

Helena Fox Fine Art

106A Church Street

Charleston, SC 29401

843-723-0073

www.helenafoxfineart.com

South Carolina Arts Commission Grant

south carolina arts commission

South Carolina Arts Commission Grant

I am extremely honored and excited to announce the South Carolina Arts Commission has awarded me an Arts Emergency Relief Grant as an individual artist. The grant program was developed to support individual artists and teaching artists who have lost income related to their artistic practice due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

South Carolina artists have reported due to the coronavirus pandemic, 95% have experienced loss, 66% have experienced unanticipated expenditures, and 63% have become fully unemployed. Cancelled events, exhibitions, markets, performances, concerts, festivals, openings, and many more arts related functions that generate revenue and a livelihood for artists have contributed to this astonishing loss. By the South Carolina Arts Commission creating this grant program, they are giving much needed assistance to artists across the state.

All of my exhibitions, shows, and events were cancelled this spring and summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Being awarded this grant has really helped off set the financial loss from those cancellations. I am very grateful for this grant and everything they do to assist artists and promote the arts in South Carolina!

In addition to the South Carolina Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts, this grant program was funded in part by a generous award from the South Carolina Arts Foundation.

The South Carolina Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1972 dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of South Carolina. Throughout its history, the Foundation has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state. Learn more about this incredible organization at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/foundation/

On June 7, 1967, Governor Robert E. McNair signed legislation that established the South Carolina Arts Commission, an autonomous state agency charged with guiding the development of the arts. For 50 years, the agency has worked to build a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their circumstances or where they live. With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of the state’s cultures and forms of expression, the organization pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. For more information on this wonderful organization and all they do for the arts in South Carolina visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/

 

 

Find Joy in Art Auction – May 26-30, 2020

find joy in art auction sc arts foundation

Find Joy in Art Auction – May 26-30, 2020

“Find Joy in Art” is an online art auction organized by the South Carolina Arts Foundation in order to help support SC artists. The amazing array of artwork by some of SC’s most accomplished and established artists represents the wide variety of media employed by our local contemporary creatives. Art items up for bid include elegant pieces of jewelry, masterful paintings, compelling photographs, functional and decorative ceramic or glass objects, beautiful textiles, virtuoso hand-pulled prints and well-designed and built furniture.

For more details on the auction, how to bid, the participating artists and their artwork, visit https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/foundation/find-joy-in-art-auction/

I was honored by the invitation to participate in this exciting benefit initiative alongside so many amazing contemporary, SC artists I greatly admire! Many are longtime friends and colleagues I am thrilled to collaborate in partnership with the SC Arts Foundation to assist local artists. A carefully curated selection of my silver jewelry and functional home objects will be available in the auction. Be sure to register at the link above in order to view my work and the other incredible artwork featured in this charitable event. Most importantly, bid on artwork to help support SC artists!

SC artists have reported due to the coronavirus pandemic, 95% have experienced loss, 66% have experienced unanticipated expenditures, and 63% have become fully unemployed. Cancelled events, exhibitions, markets, performances, concerts, festivals, openings, and many more arts related functions that generate revenue and a livelihood for artists have contributed to this astonishing loss. Creativity is at the heart of our culture and without it, there is certainly less joy in our beloved state, cities, towns, and communities. For that reason and many more it is so important to support this art auction and SC artists.

“Find Joy in Art” is coordinated by the SC Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1972 dedicated to recognizing, encouraging and supporting the art and artists of South Carolina. Throughout its history, the Foundation has pursued creative ways to help the business community and private citizens contribute to a thriving arts community across the state. Learn more about this incredible arts organization at https://www.southcarolinaarts.com/foundation/

Graduation Gift Ideas

graduation gift ideas

Graduation Gift Ideas

With summer rapidly approaching, or at least it feels like that in Charleston due to the rising temperature, graduation season will be here soon at the end of spring. Unfortunately due to the coronavirus crisis, many traditional graduation commencement ceremonies have been cancelled or postponed. However, even with the absence of a cap and gown event, giving a special gift to celebrate your graduate’s achievement is still very necessary. My silver objects, jewelry, and men’s accessories are very popular graduation gifts, so in this Blog post I have highlighted some of my favorite graduation gift ideas for both guys and gals. The majority of these quality, lasting pieces can be hand engraved for a personal, memorable touch.

Graduation Gift Ideas for Her

silver cuff bracelet hammered silver bracelet torc jewelry
Silver Torc Twist Cuff Bracelet I by Kaminer Haislip

A young lady would appreciate for everyday wear a simple pendant, delicate stud earrings, or elegant cuff or bangle bracelet, especially if she will have a professional job that requires a more conservative attire style.

Silver Torc Pendant III by Kaminer Haislip

My pendants come with the choice of a 16″, 18″, or 20″ length silver cable chain.

silver oyster pendant oyster jewelry charleston
Silver Oyster Shell Pendant by Kaminer Haislip

Bangles and cuff bracelets are also a nice jewelry gift, because she can stack them with other bracelets.

hammered silver bangle bracelet graduation gift ideas for her
Silver Torc Bracelet II by Kaminer Haislip

All of my bangles come in two sizes, medium and large, and can be custom sized. My cuff bracelets are adjustable and are flexible to form over the wrist for personalized comfort. Additionally, one size fits most.

hammered silver stud earrings torc earrings graduation gift ideas for her
Silver Torc Stud Earrings by Kaminer Haislip

Simple, yet elegant stud earrings are always a great gift for anyone, because they can be worn everyday for a delicate touch and are conservative in style for a professional environment.

oyster shell earrings silver oyster earrings jacket style earrings versatile jewelry
Silver Oyster Shell Double Earrings in
Small (pictured) or Large
by Kaminer Haislip

My jacket style Oyster Shell Double Earrings are very popular, because they can be worn as just stud (small option) or post (large option) earrings for minimal style or with the back component added for a statement look. These earrings transition effortlessly from day to night.

jacket earrings stud earring post earring
Deconstructed silver Oyster Shell Double Earring
by Kaminer Haislip
hammered silver dish silver torc earrings post earrings graduation gift ideas for her
Silver Poppy Bowl (small) and Torc Post Earrings
by Kaminer Haislip

A lovely silver dish to hold small items, pretty silver vase she can put flowers in for her dresser or vanity, or an elegant silver box to store jewelry or other small things all make thoughtful graduation gifts for her.

silver vase etched silver cloud design learning to fly hollowware
Silver Learning to Fly Vase by Kaminer Haislip

The etched design for this silver vase from my Learning to Fly Series was inspired by clouds seen from a plane receding into the distance. The concept relates to graduation by the metaphors of flying the nest, being independent, and moving forward.

silver boxes bird box chorus handcrafted silver box
Silver Chorus boxes by Kaminer Haislip

My round silver boxes come in a variety of sizes, so you can add to her collection as her life progresses.

Graduation Gift Ideas for Him

oval silver cufflinks engravable cufflinks hand engraving graduation gift ideas for him
Silver Oval Cufflinks by Kaminer Haislip

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, thoughtful gift option.

initial silver cufflinks personalized cufflinks custom cufflinks
Silver Initial Cufflinks by Kaminer Haislip

Contact me directly at kaminer@kaminerhaislip.com to commission custom, initial cufflinks if you do not see your letter in my Men’s Accessories Shop category.

silver collar stays hand engraving graduation gift ideas
Silver Collar Stays by Kaminer Haislip

Silver collar stays are another professional gift idea that also can be personalized with hand engraving.

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.

etched silver boxes graduation gift ideas for him
Silver Learning to Fly Boxes by Kaminer Haislip

These silver boxes are from the same Learning to Fly Series as the vase highlighted above and the same metaphors apply to them as well. Also, just as with the Chorus boxes also featured, they come in a variety of sizes, so as he moves forward in life, you can add to his collection.

Hand engraving on top of round silver box for a recent graduation gift for him

Visit my website Hand Engraving page for more engraving samples and styles as well as pricing and details.

silver dish silver oyster dish contemporary silver design charleston
Silver Oyster Dish by Kaminer Haislip

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.

silver tumbler contemporary silver cup hand engraving
Silver Sounding Series Tumbler by Kaminer Haislip

A final graduation gift idea is to start him on a collection of silver cups. My Sounding Series cups come in two sizes with the shorter tumbler cup shown above and a taller, Mint Julep sized beaker shown below. Both styles can be hand engraved to commemorate each date he receives one. I have several clients who have started special people on collections and it is fun to hear for what each occasion the cup is gifted. Many have started out as graduation gifts and progressed to wedding gifts.

silver beaker silver cup silver tumbler graduation gift ideas for him
Silver Sounding Tumblers and Beakers
by Kaminer Haislip

Hopefully I have given you a wide variety of thoughtful, special gift ideas to commemorate your graduate’s momentous achievement! I received a lovely array of beautiful silver gifts for each of my graduations and think fondly of the person who generously gifted it to me when I see it in my home or wear it. They bring back wonderful memories, which is the purpose of a lasting gift. Silver is just that!

Daughters of the American Revolution – American Heritage Award

Daughters of the American Revolution DAR
Daughters of the American Revolution DAR American Heritage Award

Daughters of the American Revolution – American Heritage Award

I am so incredibly proud to announce I have been honored by the Daughters of the American Revolution two prestigious awards for the annual American Heritage Competition. My collection of handcrafted silver boxes Chorus was awarded the American Heritage Award for Crafts, First Place in the Other category!

chorus silver boxes craft award american heritage award
Silver Chorus boxes by Kaminer Haislip

The theme this year was “Rise, and Shine Your Light on the 19th Amendment” in celebration of the one hundred year anniversary of the women’s right to vote law being passed. The three birds symbolize a group of women together lifting up their voices and being heard, which directly relates to the suffrage movement. Just as women stood together and bravely fought for the right to vote, these birds collectively as a choir are rising up, harmonizing as one, and vocalizing their strength and determination. They are unified in their efforts, just like the women who courageously struggled for women’s right to vote and ultimately prevailed.

handcrafted silver box hollowware bird box women's suffrage
Silver Chorus boxes by Kaminer Haislip

The second American Heritage Award I received was for the same entry and it is The Evelyn Cole Peters Award, which is awarded for excellence in any of the contest categories when an exceptional entry is presented. It is not given out every year, so it is a special honor. I was shocked by the first award, but the second award really floored me! It is such an honor and privilege to receive both of these prominent awards for my artwork.

dar american heritage competition silver boxes
Detail of silver Chorus boxes by Kaminer Haislip

I will receive the awards formally at DAR Continental Congress in June and I am so excited to highlight my wonderful Charleston DAR Rebecca Motte Chapter during this special event! Rebecca Motte’s father Robert Brewton and grandfather Miles Brewton were two of the most accomplished and talented silversmiths of colonial Charleston. Hopefully I am representing our chapter namesake well!

Through both this award and my involvement in DAR, an exceptional national non-profit organization and genealogical society, I strive to honor my American Revolution patriot and family heritage. For more information on DAR and our dedication to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children please visit http://www.dar.org/.

Kaminer Haislip PechaKucha Presentation

pechakucha presentation charleston music hall
Design by Josh Capeder

Kaminer Haislip PechaKucha Presentation

PechaKucha, a series of rapid-fire presentations from an array of local creatives, had its 36th show in Charleston on Thursday, February 20, 2020 in celebration of the first International PechaKucha Night alongside 1200 other cities. Each presenter had 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 featured head chef/co-owner of Spanish taperia, Malagón Juan Cassalett; designer and silversmith Kaminer Haislip; actor, playwright, and educator Michael Smalwood; and more at the Charleston Music Hall. 

Charleston Music Hall was generous enough to video the presenters and provide their individual presentations for them to share. To view Kaminer Haislip’s PechaKucha presentation, visit the link below!

Church Communion Tray Commission

church communion tray commission custom design flagon chalice
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

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.

silver tray commission custom design flagon chalice
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

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.

ecclesiastical church silver communion 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!

silver tray design drawing design rendering designer maker
Top view drawing of tray by Kaminer Haislip

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.

silver communion tray first presbyterian church aiken sc church silver
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

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.

silver communion tray bead rim

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.

ecclesiastic silver church silver bread tray

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.

oval silver tray bead rim

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!

silver communion tray First Presbyterian Church Aiken, SC
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

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.

silver tray hand engraved inscription
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography
silver tray hand engraving commemoration
Photo credit: Joanna Hamilton of JLHamilton Photography

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.

script hand engraving
Hand engraving by Kristina McClure
hand engraved silver tray
Hand engraving by Kristina McClure

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!

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