Holding Pattern

Maelstrom ©2013 copper, brass
Maelstrom ©2013 copper, brass

You may have noticed lately that I’ve been designing “vessels” as opposed to jewelry. But what are vessels and what sort of history do they have in the metalworking world?


  1. (nautical) Any craft designed for transportation on water, such as a ship or boat.
  2. A container of liquid, such as a glass, goblet, cup, bottle, bowl, or pitcher.
  3. A person as a container of qualities or feelings.
  4. (biology) A tube or canal that carries fluid in an animal or plant.

from Wiktionary

Tether ©2013 WTEK bronze, nickel, brass
Tether ©2013 WTEK bronze, nickel, brass

I like that vessel means a variety of things, but that it’s focus is on holding something. This is particularly amusing because most of my vessels have holes in them. For metalsmiths, vessels tend be things like bowls, teapots, vases, and various kinds of cups. There are also more mundane things like buckets or serving dishes as well. If you look back through time you could add ewers, cauldrons and salt cellars. I’m sure there is an almost endless variety of things you could call a vessel if you put your mind to it.

I’m drawn to the ideas of these traditional forms and use them as a jumping off point for my own designs. Sure my teapots can’t actually contain tea and Tether is just full of latticework. But the constraints of creating a form with specific parameters, such as a spout or a bowl like shape, help me to push my work in new directions. That’s right, constraints help me grow as an artist.

One thought on “Holding Pattern

Comments are closed.