Panache June 2011 : Page 62

Metal power Artist bends silver, copper and brass into wearable art. By Rick Kelsey Back in the ’90s, Diana Casabar took a bead-ing class but didn’t like the pen-dants that they had for the necklaces. Thinking that she could do better, she remembered that her dad used to work with metal. “Do you still have your torch and tools? And will you show me how to light the torch and how to use it?” Casabar asked him. Her dad set up his torch in the garage and showed her how to turn it on, the basics of clean-ing the metal and soldering and safety measures. Then Casabar made a ring for her first project and melted half of it. “So it didn’t turn out like the design I had drawn. Dad laughed at me! I can still see him wiping his eyes of the laugh tears,” she said. But Casabar enjoyed making that ring. So much that she de-cided to learn more by taking jewelry-making classes at the Craft Guild of Dallas. Now she calls herself a con-temporary jewelry metalsmith and works with silver, copper and brass to make pendants, earrings, necklaces, pins and other jewelry, or, as she classi-fies it, “wearable art.” “I love the fact that I can take a sheet of metal that came out of the mill and turn it into something beautiful that you look at and goes with your ev-eryday needs,” she said. Casabar gets ideas for “wear-able art” from everywhere, es-pecially nature as she enjoys the outdoors. Diana Casabar in her Keller studio. Photos by Steve Edmonds. “I love the fact that I can take a sheet of metal that came out of the mill and turn it into something beautiful that you look at and goes with your everyday needs.” movement and the detail of that wing that is so beautifully created, in the metal that is so “The wind will blow a but-hard and unbendable?’” she terfly and I’m entranced and said. How? Casabar sketches an think, ‘How can I show the Diana Casabar works a piece of jewelry. idea on paper and then trans-fers it to a sheet of metal. She heats up the metal in pitch and hammers out the design on both sides. Then she cuts and shapes the metal, soldering the 62 PANACHE June 2011 www.panachemagazine.com

Arts

Rick Kelsey

Metal power

Artist bends silver, copper and brass into wearable art.

Back in the ’90s, Diana Casabar took a beading class but didn’t like the pendants that they had for the necklaces.

Thinking that she could do better, she remembered that her dad used to work with metal.

“Do you still have your torch and tools? And will you show me how to light the torch and how to use it?” Casabar asked him.

Her dad set up his torch in the garage and showed her how to turn it on, the basics of cleaning the metal and soldering and safety measures. Then Casabar made a ring for her first project and melted half of it.

“So it didn’t turn out like the design I had drawn. Dad laughed at me! I can still see him wiping his eyes of the laugh tears,” she said.

But Casabar enjoyed making that ring. So much that she decided to learn more by taking jewelry-making classes at the Craft Guild of Dallas.

Now she calls herself a contemporary jewelry metalsmith and works with silver, copper and brass to make pendants, earrings, necklaces, pins and other jewelry, or, as she classifies it, “wearable art.”

“I love the fact that I can take a sheet of metal that came out of the mill and turn it into something beautiful that you look at and goes with your everyday needs,” she said.

Casabar gets ideas for “wearable art” from everywhere, especially nature as she enjoys the outdoors.

“The wind will blow a butterfly and I’m entranced and think, ‘How can I show the movement and the detail of that wing that is so beautifully created, in the metal that is so hard and unbendable?’” she said.

How? Casabar sketches an idea on paper and then transfers it to a sheet of metal. She heats up the metal in pitch and hammers out the design on both sides. Then she cuts and shapes the metal, soldering thePieces together and adding in stones or other accessories.Shaping metal doesn’t always turn out as intended, Casabar laughingly admits. To wit, she remembers an instructor’s advice.

“She said, ‘What makes a real artist is a person who can take a mistake and make it work.’ So you make it happen, you learn how to make it happen,” Casabar recalls.

“Making it happen” occurred with what she considers some of her best work: “The Mum Dragonflower” and “The Fuschia Dragonflower” necklaces based on images she saw in a painting by artist Frida Kahlo.When assigned to take something two-dimensional and turn it into something three-dimensional in a design class, Kahlo’s 1940 self-portrait gave Casabar an idea.

“Above her head were two dragonflies flying. But when you look closer, their heads are flowers. The strangeness of those dragonflies really caught my eye. I had to use some skills that I had never done before to make those pieces. My teacher Rick Kelsey is an Arlington-based freelance writer who’s been writing about people and places in Texas for 20 years. Brass cuff with agate and amber. Courtesy of the artist. Escher cuff with starfish pattern.

Courtesy of the artist. Said ‘You can figure it out, I know you can.’ I spent four weeks working on them and they turned out fabulous,” she said.

Which makes her grateful for everything she has learned from classes at the Craft Guild of Dallas and from her dad, who initially showed her how to work with metalsmithing tools.

“I still have Dad’s torch heads and I use them every day. He carved his name in the handle of the rubber mallet and it sits on my wall as a memento and I look at that every day when I begin my work,” she said.

To view Diana Casabar’s artwork, visit dianacasabar.com.

Read the full article at http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/article/Arts/732069/70183/article.html.

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