Evolution of a Design by Helen Stiver, Charming Little Lotus
Hello, my name is Helen Louise, I use both first and middle names to honor my grandmothers whom I am named after. Born and raised in Southern California, my time was split between navigating the rip tides of the Pacific and hiking the rocky San Gabriel’s. Growing up with a strong respect and love of nature shaped my design style and became a source of inspiration.
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art has long been an important cultural institution dedicated to presenting work by American artists, dedicated to “offer a place to share compelling and meaningful cultural experiences that open the door to new ideas, perspectives, and possibilities.” As a relatively new jewelry artist, I am grateful to The Westmoreland for providing the opportunity to share my work at the Museum Shop and give a glimpse into my artistic process here.
Have you ever wondered how the ring on your finger or charm on your necklace came to be? Designing jewelry is a detailed multi-step process. Designers use many different techniques to get the idea from their imagination to the final finished piece. My process may differ from others, some have additional skills that I have yet to learn.
My process begins with a visit to the botanical gardens where I photograph the flora and fauna from several angles. From this collection of photos, I narrow down the subjects to one specific focus, my inspiration. In this instance a Koi fish, always a popular character in the garden. Koi are also a symbol of perseverance and overcoming obstacles, both important reminders that resonate with me.
Once I identify my muse, I begin sketching, fleshing out the details and shape until I’m satisfied that I’ve created a visible resemblance. From this two dimensional design, I work with a 3D CAD designer. This part of the process is a true collaboration requiring patience and clear communication. After a few rounds a final file is created which is then sent to a 3D printer that produces a plastic model.
This model is used to help determine the size of the final piece and to place the sprues (a channel through which metal is poured into a mold). The final part of the process involves a mold of the piece which is filled with recycled sterling silver, resulting in the finished component.
Working primarily with recycled sterling and fine silver, I utilize traditional metal smithing techniques to forge, form, connect, and create, combining the components into wearable art in the form of rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets.
I believe jewelry is a silent and intimate form of expression. It is that item you have been searching for, a piece that speaks to you, a memento from travels near and far. It is something you can hold as you set your intentions for the day, a constant reminder of the lessons you have learned, of the values you cherish. It solidifies a bond between yourself and that special someone, a shared moment, a memory.
As a token of gratitude for the support extended by The Westmoreland, I am happy to extend 20% off purchases over $50 to their members, visitors and subscribers. After shopping on Charming Little Lotus, simply use the code: WESTMORELAND at checkout to receive your discount. In addition I will donate 10% of each purchase back to The Westmoreland to support their mission of providing “a place to share compelling and meaningful cultural experiences that open the door to new ideas, perspectives, and possibilities.” This code can also be used in-store at The Westmoreland’s Museum Shop by showing this blog post at checkout.
Thank you for supporting my small artisan business and The Westmoreland Museum of American Art!
Start shopping here, and don’t forget to use the code: WESTMORELAND at checkout to receive your discount.