Metals in various stages of melting are a common sight for jewelers. But oozing alloys are generally a means to an end for metalworkers. They’re transitional—waiting to be cast and manipulated into new designs.
Jeweler and artist MJ Tyson aimed to capture that transition to express thoughts about our relationship with objects in her new collection of vessels and jewelry that recently went on display at the Lenox, Mass.–based Sienna Patti Gallery, one of only a handful of contemporary fine art galleries that focuses on jewelry design.
Tyson’s exhibition, titled Inheritance, also explores the relationship between people and their possessions, while examining the significance of jewelry as it relates to the body and its role in our lives.
A bachelor’s and master’s graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design who now teaches jewelry department classes at Pratt (this semester she’s teaching a call called Ideation and Conceptualization for Jewelers), Tyson lives and works in Morristown, N.J.
The 34-year-old says she “stumbled” into jewelry design in college and “bounced around with what type of jeweler I wanted to be until I started doing the kind of work I do now, which I think is bringing some of the things a jeweler sees to a wider audience.”
In the case of Inheritance, she’s referring to “all the cool, melty stages that often happen behind the scenes.”
The melty vessels (below) are composed of metal items from a single household, which Tyson usually buys up at estate sales. There are other pieces that explore the various trinkets people often can carry around with them all day, including coins, watches, keys, and jewelry.
The show features wearable jewelry, including rings created from messy/beautiful melts and a necklace comprising hundreds of religious coins—the kind people collect and never throw away, even though they’re not monetarily valuable.
“Everything I’m doing now is taking jewelry techniques to a larger scale,” Tyson says.
Below are some of her dramatic and beautiful works:
Top: Necklace by MJ Tyson (all photos courtesy of the Sienna Patti Gallery)
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