Skier's Shadowbox Brooch

Copper, brass, with glass, and silver

2 x 2 x 0.5 inches

Photographed by artist, Inspiration photo by Berko Studio

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In July of 2016, my mother died at the age of 92. Shortly thereafter, it was up to my sister and I to empty her apartment and distribute her possessions. During the course of that cleanout, we came upon an old print of my mother and father skiing in the 50s or 60s in Aspen. It struck me that they looked so happy, and it stirred up old memories of our parents taking the family skiing in the winters as I was growing up.

During my childhood we kept a large shadowbox on the wall where we placed family photos such as this one, from life events and vacations. What’s more, the first mementos I can remember collecting were ski pins from different locales, and I still have that collection. It is this print and these memories that inspired my brooch for the Halstead Design Challenge, Memento. It is a tribute to my parents, my passion for skiing and for metalsmithing and jewelry.

As a metalsmith, I am always interested in dimensionality and form. Thus, the fabrication of a hinged box as a solution for this challenge fit in with my approach to design and construction. The brooch is a miniature shadowbox of copper and brass, with a fabricated hinge design that evokes the silhouette of the mountains. Inside it are a miniature print of the photo, along with miniature fabricated skis and poles. In total, it incorporates 10 of the 17 different items included in the kit (per my email of 2/3/17), to make the box, hold the glass, the pin in back, the catch at the bottom, the skis, poles and large snowflake, and the pinned photo print.

It has been a design and fabrication challenge both fulfilling and meaningful for me to realize this piece, creating the parts and pieces from my kit.