the Month - August 2005
Carrie Walsh Combines
Rocks, Metal and Glass
into Stunning Jewelry
By Annabelle Numaguchi
I walked into Carrie Walsh’s home to interview her, I
knew it was going to be fun. Her home is appealing and eclectic;
a restaurant booth with silver seats, a glass-topped coffee
table made out of an old door displaying scattered dominoes
and dice, vividly colored posters of old French and Italian
ads for wine and pasta. Walsh herself reflected this originality
and blend of modern-retro style and elegance.
She evokes a contemporary look evocative of the Fifties with a black and
white scarf tied behind the nape of her neck and a choker length necklace
sporting a stunning pendant.
It is the pendant that has brought me here. Carrie Walsh is a jewelry-maker
and a metal-smith. Her work fits into the image she has projected through
her home decor, dress and personality; original, funky and classy.
Her sense of originality probably comes from her family, of whom several
are artists (in particular, her mother is a sculptor). Growing up amid
such a high level of creativity has imbued Walsh with an apparent natural
ease in following her own sense of creating beauty.
she was eleven or twelve years old, Walsh has been making jewelry. She
began working with easy-to-manage materials, such as hemp and glass beads.
The transition from making jewelry as a hobby into pursuing it as an art
form occurred serendipitously.
While working for Earth Studio, a Moab shop that sells a variety of local
art, she befriended the daughter of the studio’s owners. Walsh gave
her friend a necklace made out of a triple strand of beads for her birthday
one year. The girl’s mother was so taken with the necklace that she
commissioned Walsh to make similar necklaces for Earth Studio.
This was Walsh’s first sale of her jewelry and she continued selling
her creations on consignment through the store for three years. Having
seen her mother and aunts manage to earn a living through their art, she
knew it was possible to do the same and was ready to embrace subsequent
opportunities for creating jewelry.
next step in Walsh’s development as a jewelry-maker led her into
metal-smithing. Two years ago, she began apprenticing herself to Wendy
Newman, a goldsmith, who has a studio in Moab (which participates in the
Art Studio Tour in the fall) and displays her creations in regional art
As Walsh’s skills have increased, so has the intrinsic value of the
materials she uses. She now works with silver and golds, along with semi-precious
stones. She uses cabochons (rounded stones which she usually shapes herself)
and faceted stones. Often times she uses one as an accent to the other,
taking into account color and opaqueness. Her current line of jewelry,
which includes pendants, necklaces and bracelets, also incorporates captivating
square beads made in the Venetian millefiori (thousand flowers) tradition
of blending concentric circles of colored glass.
Working with these various materials that reflect light differently and
turning them into a piece of three-dimensional jewelry that must look beautiful
from many angles requires a true artist’s eye. Walsh possesses such
foresight, a skill she most likely inherited, but certainly honed while
obtaining her Graphics Design degree from the University of Dayton in Ohio.
A series of galactic-inspired pendants and brooches evinces her talents.
The cabochons and facets reflect a myriad of colors, depending on the light
and its angle. One pendant features a mesmerizing red Mexican fire agate
that when held up to the sunlight reflects greens and golds in a wave-like
pattern. Walsh used a fire opal, a small scarlet faceted stone, to bring
out the bold reds of the agate. These warm-colored stones are set on the
edges of a gold arrow framed within a larger silver oval.
The contrast of fiery stones with the cool metals accentuates the futuristic
designs of the pendant. The inner matrix of the agate that appears in sunlight
also enhances the multi-layer texture of the piece. Walsh facetiously says
that the design for the piece was inspired by the cartoon, The Jetsons,
but the elegance of the pendant belies this simplified description of the
Although Walsh’s pieces exude an elegance, they are timely and non-conventional.
Walsh claims that she prefers to “wear more casual jewelry,” so
she imbues her work with a certain amount of whimsy. She showed me the
prototype of a bracelet she’s recently created.
The bracelet is made up of square millefiori
beads nestled in silver. Each segment features a unique geometric design
that is hand-drilled and -carved and individually hinged to the next segment.
An appealing characteristic of this bracelet is its reversibility. On one
side, the square beads shine through the silver designs, playing with color,
shape and composition. On the other, the silver squares are used more conventionally
as a border to the decorative beads. The bracelet easily reflects the two
sides of Walsh’s art; funky and elegant.
The artistry and craftsmanship evident in this original bracelet show how
far Walsh’s skills have developed since she began beading necklaces.
She works with expensive materials that allow for very little waste, so
precision is another important skill she has honed.
Carrie Walsh is wasting no time blending her natural artistic talents and
acquired smithing skills to create unique pieces of stunning jewelry. She
is a young artist with considerable ability who will be interesting to
keep an eye on as she continues to create eye-catching ornaments that are
at once contemporary and elegant, timely and timeless.
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