Artist Victoria Lansford uses her skill in metalsmithing to create beautiful contemporary jewelry and objets d’arts that link the past with the present. Visit her website to see more of her stunning work.
My goal has always been to keep alive ancient metalsmithing techniques and use them in a contemporary way for functional and sculptural artwork. I look for ways to push the envelope as far as I can both technically and in designing, and really, after twenty-seven years, I feel like I’m just beginning to do that. I hope I can go even further.
I’m currently working on large scale interior design installations in copper and also on a series of sculptural Russian filigree jewelry in 18k gold and silver. It might sound odd to work back and forth in scale, but I find working on multiple projects keeps me engaged and focused.
My work is inspired by two major themes: creation and transformation. Whether studying the origins of the cosmos or creation mythologies of various cultures, I find there is a recurring motif of chaos into order, which my own creative process mimics. As in nature, the chaos-into-order in my studio isn’t linear; it is cyclical. The spirals in my work echo this idea.
Back in college, an art history professor showed photographs of the Lascaux cave paintings and said, “If you’re an artist, the shaman that painted these are your ancestors.” I took that idea to heart and often create metaphorical jewelry that references antique amulets of protection or power.
Part of my fascination with Lascaux is that to access the paintings one has to squeeze through incredibly tight spaces in a way that mimics conception and rebirth. This inner creative sanctum is meant to feel transformational.
The Gothic and Moorish arches, minarets, and domes that inform much of my work carry on this idea of Lascaux. I also find endless inspiration in Arabic and Medieval calligraphic illuminations.
Within all these archetypal shapes are metaphors of positive/negative, masculine/feminine, and emptiness/matter that I employ to make pieces that are at once unique yet familiar.
Ancient Egyptian art sparked my love of metalsmithing. I first encountered Egyptian art depictions on a board game called Voice of the Mummy, when I was five years old. Years later at Georgia State University, I was fortunate to study with Gia Gogishvilli, an artist in residence from the Republic of Georgia. It was like entering a time machine to learn how metalsmiths worked thousands of years ago. This opportunity compelled me to keep ancient techniques alive.
I work directly with the metal and never use molds. I construct the Russian filigree frames and tension fit each tiny scalloped wire before flipping the structures over to solder from the back. I do all the filigree work flat, then form them into dimensional designs.
Conversely, the Eastern repousse cuff bracelets and rings I hammer in the round. Eastern repousse is a free hand forging technique which can be used for representational or abstract designs. Stones are where I get to play with more color. I especially look for ones with depth and intensity that are like micro versions of Hubble telescope images of our universe.