Avid artist Merrifield carries a torch for jewelry earning

The pandemic adjusted the lives of everyone, for improved or even worse, and jewelry artist Carolyn Merrifield is no exception.

In April 2020, Merrifield and her husband moved from Maryland to a dwelling in Sebastian they experienced acquired in 2019, in anticipation of his retirement.

“We’re water people today. We beloved the Chesapeake Bay, but summer was only a few months extended, and then it’s cold,” claims Merrifield.

A graduate of the College of Delaware with a degree in interior structure, Merrifield used more than 30 several years directing massive-scale, multisite style, building and renovation tasks for customers throughout a various assortment of industries, which include health care, banking and hospitality, and she had prepared to carry on in the industry, even right after relocating.

In her spare time, she experienced taken some art lessons at a Maryland local community college or university and when enterprise closures and layoffs put a halt to her occupation strategies, she turned her awareness to what had at the time been a hobby.

“My goal, when I retired, was to be a potter, with a studio in my dwelling,” says Merrifield. “I experienced taken every course they had in ceramics, and I resolved to check out a thing unique. I stumbled on a jewelry-producing course and gave it a try. I was promptly hooked.”

The moment in Florida, they produced a studio in a portion of their garage the place she could aim on metalsmithing, which quickly turned a full-time endeavor.

“If COVID hadn’t occurred, I would have taken a company task, and continued to dabble with jewelry-building on weekends. For the reason that of COVID, I acquired in 3 many years what it would have taken me 30 yrs to find out element-time,” says Merrifield.

“I consider I am a pyromaniac at heart. The moment I obtained the torches in my hand, and I started melting factors, I thought, ‘Oh my lousy spouse!’”

She learned that she was really adept at generating striking and fully exceptional pieces.

“That’s simply because I’m not making jewellery,” she describes. “I’m making sculptures of what I see and sense, and things that are crucial to me, sculptures of what I like. It just takes place to be smaller.”

Merrifield claims she finds limitless inspiration from nature’s bounty.

“I am at the identical time impressed and humbled by the splendor of our earth. We had been sitting on the deck of a cafe overlooking the lagoon, and I discovered the sand was in these kinds of an fascinating sample,” states Merrifield.

She took a picture and channeled those flowing strains of sand into several parts of jewellery.

In the same way, she has produced jewelry working with uncommon stones, flat sheets of metallic, or even bits of wire.

“I never ever duplicate a layout they are all 1 of a type,” she says.

“I continued to experiment with and hone my skills in various techniques during my spare time, mostly on weekends in the commencing. The new scenery of Florida and the capacity to do the job total time fueled my creativity.”

Merrifield commenced attending arts and craft shows in Sebastian, Vero Beach front and Melbourne, and in 2022 joined the Vero Seaside Artwork Club, which opened up a entire world of options.

“You just never know the place everyday living will get you. I was in my initial display, Art by the Sea, in 2023, and won To start with Prize in jewelry. That led to a consignment option at Artists Guild Gallery,” suggests Merrifield, who calls her jewellery business Earthly Wearable Art.

Possessing commenced in copper, Merrifield now mainly performs in silver.

“It is just so considerably simpler to manipulate and solder. I think it is a cleaner on the lookout steel and appeals to far more people. Occasionally I will toss gold to a piece, which is in fact simpler to work with than silver. It is just so costly, it is difficult to hold an stock of gold parts.”

She enjoys using the historical Korean gilding approach Keum-Boo, in which 24-carat gold foil is utilized to the floor of sterling silver utilizing warmth and stress.

“It’s not like gold plate. It’s bonded into the other metallic, and won’t dress in off. It is a gorgeous system.”

The get the job done is generally demo and error, in particular when making use of a torch.

“The blunders and mess-ups, you just soften down and try yet again. You find out what chemicals do what to the metal. Absolutely nothing is wasted. You just consider and be creative,” she points out, likening jewellery earning to a science venture.

“It’s like art, but you have to know all these substances, taking part in with distinctive types to know what they will do. You can adjust the shade of metallic with hearth or heat or chemicals. You can place a boiled egg into a container and place the metallic in there and the metallic will convert a shade, for the reason that of sulfur. It is very cool.”

Merrifield has learned guidelines, tricks and methods by listening to other artists.

“People are pretty eager to share techniques and mastering. There really are no new procedures,” she claims, commenting that whilst there may well be new means of doing matters, people have been producing jewellery for hundreds of several years.

“There’s a approach, you just cannot hurry items. It teaches you tolerance.”

One particular strange supply of substance she uncovered will come from outdated motor vehicle factories. Just after decades of hand-spray painting vehicles, their partitions and gear are replete with levels and layers of enamel paint colours. The thick, really hard product is now getting ‘mined,’ and polished into industrial gemstones acknowledged as Fordite, Detroit agate or Motor City agate.

Merrifield created a ring with Detroit agate that shows striations of shades, explaining that the light-weight ‘stones’ can be shaped and polished and, if it will get a scratch, can be buffed just as you would a car or truck.

She also works with all-natural stones, either tumbling them herself or obtaining them from a lapidary.

“Sometimes I see a stone that just catches my eye, so I will acquire it and I know some idea will appear to me of how to use it. Stones make it easy. They explain to you what to do. Character offers endless materials,” says Merrifield, who likes to attempt matters outside of her skill amount.

“I do like to press myself. I have to make something intricate. It’s been an enjoyable time these previous few of years.”

Her jewelry can be uncovered at the Artists Guild Gallery and at the Vero Seashore Art Club Gallery.

Photos by Joshua Kodis