Nell Chandler, Jeweler
Nell Chandler, Jeweler from North Carolina, creates jewelry by integrating painting, printmaking and metal fabrication into each piece. Drawing, etching, sawing, sanding, filing, soldering, cleaning and burnishing – each pendant, bracelet, earrings or necklace tells it’s own story. Stones or little pearls are added to the finished piece.
I was a painter and a printmaker before I ever made jewelry. I fell in love with metal the first class I took, eventually integrating painting, printmaking and metal fabrication into my current work.
My work has always always had a narrative as I like it to tell a little story.
I take a sheet of metal and draw pictures all over it with permanent ink resist. I then etch the metal, like a kind of printmaking. Instead of printing the plate, I saw out all the little pictures. After sawing, sanding and filing each picture or object I arrange it on my jewelry to tell the story.
The theme of the narratives is often about relationship: friendships; partners; siblings. I also have symbols about reaching for your dreams with your whole self, staying focused and finding time for quiet time. I encourage people to see what is meaningful for them.
After arranging the pieces, I solder each one onto sterling. The jewelry is cleaned and burnished then the liver of sulphur patina is applied. Next comes one of my favorite parts, highlighting the story by mixing the resin and “painting” the pictures. Last, I add any stones or little pearls.
I never have given up painting and I love the part of jewelry making that comes from the same place that painting does. There is an exciting exploration – a see what happens if and a satisfaction when I can hold a piece in my hand and know it came from my heart. It is love, joy, hope, understanding and empathy that I am trying to pass on through my work.