Featured Artist Don Kelley

Using sterling silver from vintage forks combined with natural stones, pearls and cubic zirconia, artist Don Kelley creates simple, stunning  jewelry designs. Visit his website for more.

 

“Celestial Pink” Ring, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Natural Pearl, Cubic Zirconia, 1” x 1” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Celestial Pink” Ring, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Natural Pearl, Cubic Zirconia, 1” x 1” x 1”

 

While at a dinner party, my mind started drifting, eventually landing on a fork. A strange thought came to me: “This would be a way better bracelet than a fork.”

 

"Earthen" Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Natural Cherry Creek Jasper, 3” x 2” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Earthen” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Natural Cherry Creek Jasper, 3” x 2” x 1”

 

That was years ago. Today I create timeless jewelry that is both simple and striking from vintage silver dinner forks. I shape, sculpt and re-forge each fork around a natural stone to create bracelets, pendants, earrings, pins and rings.

 

“Pearls Swooping” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Sterling Silver Wire, Natural Pearls, Cubic Zirconia, 3” x 1” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Pearls Swooping” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Sterling Silver Wire, Natural Pearls, Cubic Zirconia, 3” x 1” x 1”

 

I almost never have a predetermined design or preformed idea, as I “cold form” each piece of metal into a work of wearable art. It’s almost as if the design was already there and all I did was discover it. My work has been described as Bauhaus inspired and has a Germanic boldness.

 

"Blooming Red" Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Druzy Quartz Cabochon, Cubic Zirconia, 3” x 2” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Blooming Red” Pendant, Silver Fork Tines, Druzy Quartz Cabochon, Cubic Zirconia, 3” x 2” x 1”

 

Many customers bring their family silverware to me to create heirloom pieces. The rich history of this silver has special meaning and connections to those who wear it.

 

"Angularity" Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Tahitian Pearl, 2” x 2” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Angularity” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Tahitian Pearl, 2” x 2” x 1”

 

Even my tools have a history. One pair of pliers I use are the very same pliers that my mother used. As an eight year old boy, I would watch her craft a sterling ring or some other piece of jewelry. Even at that age I was intrigued by the process and fascinated by these special tools.

 

"Black and Pink" Earrings, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, South Sea Natural Black and Pink Pearls, 2” x .5” x .5” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Black and Pink” Earrings, Silver Fork Tines, South Sea Natural Black and Pink Pearls, 2” x .5” x .5”

 

Decades later, I found these tools while going through her personal effects. I opened “the box” and rediscovered the magic these tools still held for me. That’s when my new journey began.

 

"Sunset Glow" Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Orange Veriscite Cabochon, 3” x 2” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Sunset Glow” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Orange Veriscite Cabochon, 3” x 2” x 1”

 

I read, studied and taught myself silversmithing while realizing the joy of creating lasting memories. I still use many of her tools and the pair of pliers I watched her use touches nearly every piece of jewelry I make.

 

"Golden Hue" Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Rainbow Jasper Stone, 3” x 2” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Golden Hue” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Rainbow Jasper Stone, 3” x 2” x 1”

 

“My Mother’s Rings” collection is made using seafood forks and an appropriate birthstone.

 

“Inclining Pearl” Ring, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Natural Pearl, 1” x 1” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Inclining Pearl” Ring, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Natural Pearl, 1” x 1” x 1”

 

Another line, the “Fork in the Road” collection, was inspired by a friend who commissioned me to make a piece for her mother. It turned out her mother was just diagnosed with breast cancer. The fork I used to make the pendant became a symbol of my friend’s mother’s “fork in the road” moment as she chose to be a cancer survivor.

 

"Red" Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Red Coral, Cubic Zirconia, 2” x 2” x 1” by artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Red” Pendant, Sterling Silver Fork Tines, Red Coral, Cubic Zirconia, 2” x 2” x 1”

 

I am now making bracelets for veterans working with leather and yes, the silver from forks. Veterans especially have their own “fork in the road” moments. If I can bring a bit of hope, inspiration and a reminder that they are not alone, I feel I’m doing something important.

 

Artist Don Kelley. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Artist Don Kelley

 

Whether I’m using a family’s vintage silverware to make an heirloom wearable piece of jewelry for a daughter or granddaughter, or providing a bit of hope or inspiration to a cancer survivor or deserving veteran, I feel as if I’m doing something purposeful.

 

Artist Don Kelley invites you to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Want to stay current on cutting edge business articles from Artsy Shark, plus artist features, and an invitation to the next Call for Artists? Click below to sign up for our twice-monthly email. You’ll get all this plus opportunities and special offers that you can’t get anywhere else!

Sign Up For Updates!

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.