Meet Gabriele Landolt
Winner, Advanced Category, Man, Myth, Magic Challenge
Congratulations to Gabriele Landolt! Her winning piece, Past, Present, and Future, is a two-sided sterling silver pendant which is two inches in diameter. Designed as an amulet, it is meant to protect the wearer throughout life’s journey.
“My inspiration came from the center stone, which is Lusterine. This lab-created gemstone changes color three ways (green, yellow, purple). Although the stone remains the same, its color changes depending on the wavelength of light with the passing of time,” says Gabriele.
“The crows are powerful symbols used in many ancient cultures, often representing transformation and change,” she adds. “While the shape of the crows are the same, there are subtle differences between them (e.g. feathers, body color). The eye color of each enameled bird reflects the changing color of the center stone, which they carry between them and which unites them.”
Separating each bird from the next are triangular symbols representing the past, the present, and the future.
The reverse side of the piece features a Celtic-inspired lattice. Inscribed beneath it is the phrase “sit like a mountain, move like a river, and shine like a star.”
“I carved the crows and triangular symbols using a scalpel blade and micro carving tools,” said Gabriele, “as was the lattice on the reverse side. The words below the lattice were inscribed using a round needle file. The seat, support spokes for the stone and the prongs were fired in multiple pieces and separately from the pendant, as I was unsure if the shrinkage would affect the shapes.”
“Following the firing, the stone seat, support, and prongs were assembled, attached to the piece, and refired. This was the most difficult part of the project, as the seat had to be horizontal and center. In addition, I could not use any solder that I had on hand because of the subsequent enameling process. After the second firing, I polished and cleaned the piece for enameling. Once enameled, the piece was brushed, cleaned, patinated with liver of sulphur, and re-polished. The final task was to set the stone.”
Gabriele discovered metal clay when she was experimenting with epoxy resin and bought a book on mixed media jewelry. The book featured projects using metal clay, which piqued her interest. “I had always wanted to try my hand at traditional metalsmithing, but I was reluctant to purchase all the tools needed for it. In contrast, the tools needed to start working in metal clay are few and simple. I bought my first 10-gram package of fine silver metal clay and became hooked!
Gabriele is entirely self-taught, and her learning resources have mostly been books, plus online videos or classes. “Most of my learning process has been through trial and error. As I love to experiment, I enjoy playing with various techniques and I’m constantly looking for new ones to incorporate into my projects.”
Gabriele also won the Advanced Category in the AMCAW Hidden Worlds Challenge earlier this year. She is a Professor of Equine Medicine at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Colorado State University. Her research focuses on equine infectious respiratory pathogens such as equine influenza virus.