Angela Gerhard’s work is created through the fusing of vitreous enamel directly onto metal, either with a torch or in a furnace, at temperatures up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Various metalworking techniques - both ancient and modern - are incorporated to create the base forms to which the vibrant glass color is fused. Metal is cut, pierced, embossed, filed, soldered, formed and finished by hand. Several forms and embossed metal surfaces are created with the aid of a 20-ton hydraulic press and handmade dies. Layering, etching, sgraffito, and over and under-firing the enamel creates varying effects in color, texture, and surface design. Each piece is individually fired up to 20 times. Sterling silver “frames” are often textured and oxidized to complement the enameled forms they hold. Much ingenuity is called for when setting enamels, and Angela enjoys the technical challenge of creating pieces in which the handmade rivets, tab-settings,, and/or bezels not only securely fasten and protect the enamel, but also become an integral part of the overall design.
All jewelry is produced in Angela’s private metalworking studio, which is housed in a bright, high-ceilinged former factory building in the hills of Western Massachusetts. Much of the inspiration for her work is drawn from the close observation of seemingly mundane things: paint chipping off of rusting pipes, old signage, concrete, and magnified perceptions of microscopic worlds. The influence of Modernist painters is evident in more recent work, as is her interest in asymmetry and achieving visual balance with color and pattern. Angela seeks to communicate a similar sense of discovery in the work she creates, encouraging the wearer to truly engage in each piece and view it as a miniature, portable, and personal work of art. Every piece of jewelry is lively and undeniably distinct, and her collection has quickly earned recognition and praise from clients and professionals within the national art and craft community.