Sterling silver, brass, copper, vintage found object- brass and enamel, cubic zirconia, green tourmaline, mica, and laser etched paper
4 x 2.73 x 0.375 inches
Photography and video by Jason Dowdle
The theme of my current work examines love and loss, remembering, and finding solace through reflections of the past. This brooch was inspired by an Art Nouveau found object and the traditions of Georgian and Victorian mourning and sentimental jewelry, which often employed a hidden compartment for mementos of one held dear. The laser cut rose vines, behind a mica window employ the secret language of Victorian floriography (language of flowers) to represent family I have loved and lost. During this era the rose became the most common motif representing love and death. This one flower symbolized a number of sentiments; joining rose buds symbolized a strong bond between two people while a rose in full bloom signified the death of an adult. The brooches I create represent a portal to the past and provide a feeling of protection, a sacred space, and connection to those held dear.
Barbara McFadyen is a metalsmith and enamelist who has been designing jewelry in gold, silver, and enamel for over four decades. She has become nationally recognized through exhibitions with the American Crafts Council, the Smithsonian Institution, SNAG, and the Enamelist Society. Barbara received her MFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University, in 2017, and her BA in Creative Arts from Eckerd College, 1974. A summer immersion in Japan with Parson’s School of Design in 1981 with Tokyo Designer College resulted in a turning point in her work and professional career. Her passion for enameling began at Kulicke Starke Academy in NYC and continued through her studies with notable enamelists such as Bill Helwig, Martha Banyas, Jamie Bennett, Mary Chuduck, Charity Hall, and Linda Darty, at Penland, Arrowmont, and Haystack. In a 2011 “Enameling for Bookmaking” class at Penland with Elizabeth Turrell, Barbara was first introduced to the artist book. She continues to explore and be excited by combining her metalwork with the medium of the artist book. Whether to held in the hand or worn as adornment, Barbara is passionate about creating unique intimate objects in silver, gold, and enamel.
Barbara’s one of a kind and limited work is currently on exhibit at Creative Metalsmiths Gallery in Chapel Hill. She finds challenge and inspiration through teaching, and has led workshops at renowned craft schools such as John C. Campbell, Arrowmont, Peter’s Valley, Penland School of Crafts, and Kobe Design University in Kobe, Japan. She has been on the board of directors for several nonprofit arts organizations and is currently serving as trustee for Penland School of Crafts.
She has curated a number of exhibitions, the most recent one being Vitreous Voices: the Enamel Tradition of ECU, which opened in concert with the 2018 Material Topics Symposium, held at East Carolina University. She designed and produced a full color catalog to document this historic exhibit featuring 70 works by 28 artists. Barbara maintains her studio practice residence in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband Douglass Phillips, four children, five grandchildren and beloved dog, Bodhi.