Smelting Silver

Q&A with silversmith Jacquie Green

Submitted Photo: Jacquie Green Silversmith Jacquie Green sits at her workstation. As a child, Green said she could spend hours in her bedroom creating designs with some paper, glass and X-Acto knife. Now in her career, she said metalworking helps her find her flow.

What does your job entail?

I’m self employed. I’m part of a co-op gallery (CCA Gallery) in Carmel, Indiana and…I’m also at a small gallery in Broad Ripple. (In my work) I use mostly silver. I’ll occasionally use copper or brass and when I’m feeling really rich, I’ll use gold.


How long have you done this work?

Wendy Zhu

My first class was in ‘93. I took a ceramics class…and then later that year I realized, “I don’t think I want to do pottery.” Then I saw this metalsmithing class and I inquired about it and from then on I (realized), “this is it, this is the one.” It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do in life. I am very versatile in what I can do, but I really find my flow when I’m doing my metalwork.


What is the process behind making something?

Inspiration is the first (step). On a rare occasion I’ll do commision work but I really, as an artist, don’t like doing that because it really sucks the creative juices out of me…It’s the stones that really inspire me, but often I will make pieces out of just simple silver. I’m inspired by organic shapes and then I draw it down. I kind of get a loose idea sometimes when I’m sitting in church and I’m listening to a sermon, because I have the gift and the curse of ADHD. I’ll (often) be doodling…and I’ll come up with some really cool ideas. I don’t always use them, but if I have something on my mind or in my heart I want to make, I can usually evolve something out by doodling it first.


Photo Illustration: Chenyao Liu
Source: The Plunge
Silversmith Jacquie Green shows off the parts she used to construct one of her rings. She said creating rings involve more soldering because she has to connect the lower part of the ring to the stone.

What is the process behind creating a ring?

When I’m making a ring there’s a lot (of) soldering involved because I have to make the shank, which is (the lower portion of a ring). This is the bezel (the section that holds the stone) that goes around it. This one has a decorative bezel, there’s a plain bezel piece and then I have to solder an extra half round bead around the edge, and that stone is lapis, it just takes a little more effort. Sometimes I have to make the rings adjustable sized so that for selling purposes, more people will have a chance to wear it.


What lessons have you learned from metalsmithing?

I’m not super technical, but I have learned…to embrace my mistakes. There were several students at the art center…who were striving for perfection and while that’s good…you don’t usually hit the mark and you have to learn to be okay with it…It’s not that you did something perfectly, it’s that you tried.


Is there anything else you think readers should know?

I’ve always said that people are creative, everyone is creative…It takes time to hone your craft and (my) son…is still in the mindset of, “If I can’t go on this bike and ride it immediately I’m not going to try”, which I find just completely fatalistic. You have to keep getting on the bike, you (have to) keep trying if you want it bad enough. If you don’t want it enough (then) walk away. It’s worth going after something that you feel strongly about.