Monday, February 15, 2010

Charmaine Gerada - Silver Filigree Jewelry

One reason I enjoy blogging so much is because of the people I meet around the world. Today's featured artist is no exception... introducing Charmaine Gerada, a silver filigree artist from the Mediterranean island of Malta.I'm positive quillers will recognize the similarity between the coiled shapes of silver filigree and paper filigree. Quilling has been around for hundreds of years, but silver filigree definitely wins the longevity award... examples have been found in Egyptian pyramids that date as far back as 5000 years BC. I suspect silver filigree work played a large part in inspiring those who first gave paper rolling a try.The art of silver filigree has been an important part of Maltese heritage. Families pass the knowledge down through generations. Charmaine's father, for example, has been working with thin strands of precious metals for fifty years and taught her the trade more than twenty years ago. Charmaine also completed a two year course in gold and silversmithing at the School of Art in Valletta. She uses two types of silver wire, silver solder, and an open flame burner to create her exquisite designs. Charmaine prefers the traditional stylistic character of filigree and admits it takes a great deal of practice to be so precise. "The more you work, the more you practice and learn different methods and techniques. After fifty years my father still likes to experiment!""We melt the silver and do our own wire and solder too." "Some of the tools we use are similar to quilling, such as a flat tweezer and a pointed one."
First, silver or gold granules are melted at a high temperature. The metal is poured into molds which produce ingots, or bars. When cool, the ingots are pressed and stretched until wires of different thicknesses have formed. Thicker wires shape the outer frame of the design and then to complete the inner portion, two very fine threads are wound together in the shape of a rope. Next the threads are flattened, heated, and cut into small pieces which are wound and shaped by hand, positioned within the outline, and soldered into place. The object is dipped in chemicals to eliminate black oxidation, and lastly it is polished in a rumbling machine.Charmaine's work has been exhibited in a number of settings organized by the Malta Crafts Council and has attracted the attention of locals and foreigners interested in typical filigree work. Here are some pictures she shared with me of pieces that were recently on display...

Charmaine can be reached at chgerada at gmail.com
Edited to add: She now has an Etsy shop, Truly Filigree.

11 comments:

Pingos do Céu said...

É incrivel a quantidade de pessoas talentosas que conhecemos todos os dias.

O trabalho de filigrama é das artes, actualmente, mais desafiadoras e presumo mais recompensadoras.

Obrigado por partilhar!
Cumprimentos, Pingos do Céu

Kendra Zvonik said...

AMAZING! What wonderful work and a wonderful, illustrated post! Thank you for sharing this incredible work.

Kim said...

My brain can't really process what my eyes are seeing... that is so beautiful!!!

Ann Martin said...

Thanks so much for your comments. I'm glad you all share my enthusiasm for Charmaine's incredible talent.

Anonymous said...

Her work is breathtaking. Thank you for showing us and introducing her.
Gail

Quilling with Whimsiquills said...

Thanks for sharing, Ann. Charmaine's work is incredible! I am lucky enough to own a piece of old silver filigree jewelry; it was fun to see the process.
Pat Caputo

Ann said...

I just found your blog yesterday when I was looking for information on quilling. Love your blog.
These are absolutely amazing.

IrishBelle318 said...

How beautiful! I am in awe of all these. Gorgeous!

Philippa said...

This is fascinating, and the similarities with quilling are striking. I used to visit Malta regularly, and always came home with some silverware - usually filigree earrings from one of the shops in a street I used to visit in Valletta. I did not know about quilling then, but now I can really appreciate the intricacy of this wonderful work. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa said...

Absolutely stunning!

Stefani said...

I had no idea that existed - not like this work, anyway. Gorgeous!

Thanks for sharing, Ann.

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