Mary Filapek & Lou Ann Townsend, Jewelers

Mary and Lou Ann, Jewelers in North Carolina, have collaborated in the design and creation of their jewelry for over 15 years. Whether fabricating or casting in sterling silver, gold or bronze, the foundation of every piece is built in metal.  With the metal work complete, the work is further flushed out with color from inlayed polymer clay and strung semi-precious stones, stainless steel cables or hand fabricated sterling silver chains.

Bringing a sense of grace and anti-gravity to each piece, Mary and Lou Ann’s jewelry design is influenced by a mid-century modern aesthetic. Crisp, strong lines, clean color and a relationship to the universe and its machinations, infused throughout with a sense of joy and hope.

Mary Filapek and Lou Ann Townsend

Color, form and texture in our jewelry are inspired by chemistry, cellular structure, DNA, spirituality, the nature of reality and our planetary travels.  We are drawn to explore the void; the space between breaths and atoms.

The patterns are inspired by the idea of language and layering of information.  Cuneiform, kanji, architectural drafting and electronic schematics are ‘languages’ that visually inspire us.

We create jewelry in sterling silver, inlayed with polymer clay, and strung on semi-precious stones, stainless steel cables or hand fabricated sterling silver chains.

First, we create the metal framework for the pieces, either fabricating directly in sterling, or creating masters in wax or metal to be molded and cast.  Then we mix the colors for the polymer clay and inlay it into the metal framework.  The clay is then individually patterned using fabricated tools and found objects. Finally, the pieces are stained to add contrast to the imprinted patterns.

Mary and Lou Ann met at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where they were both studying metal arts. They currently live in North Carolina and have been collaborating for over 15 years.