Metalsmith Darlys Ewoldt crafts stunning vessels.
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Darlys Ewoldt’s interest in metalsmithing began with a jewelry-making class at Indiana University and hasn’t abated since. Eventually earning herself an MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry design, Darlys worked for a commercial jeweler out of college, gaining experience with silver, gold, copper, and even titanium.
By 1995, Ewoldt had turned her attention to larger vessels, which allowed her to rediscover a more sculptural approach to her metal work. Each of her vessels stems from a naturally inspired base form, then expands geometrically, yet asymmetrically, out for a truly distinctive look. For these, she works almost exclusively with sheets of copper, which she prefers for its pliability and interaction with the patina coloring. Her design process starts with a sketchbook of natural objects and landscapes she adds to as inspiration strikes throughout her day. The second catalyst is usually a word or theme she wants the new vessel to explore; she has only to flip through her notebook to find an interesting base form. She makes a cardboard model of the first bowl and then starts pounding metal.
Each of Ewoldt’s sculptures start as a flat disk of copper that is hammered out in a traditional process. Once she has the base of the vessel to her liking, it’s back to the cardboard model, where she tests out the size, shape, and build of the layers that make her work unique. This model enables Ewoldt to keep the design process going alongside the construction process. She really works to develop the inside as well as the outside of each vessel; she wants to draw the viewer in, where often we are rewarded. Each layer is individually hammered out and soldered onto the base. Often, she flourishes vessels with brightly colored copper "contents."
After the construction is completed, she mixes her own patinas for the coloration process. For this she heats the sculpture with a heat gun and applies each color directly to the metal, up to five layers. The results are striking colors and textures--and vessels that display and sell in galleries for up to $5,500.