Heart of Texas Magazine

Dawna Gillespie: Texas Metalsmith and Jewelry Designer Extraordinaire

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Tony Maples Photography


Art comes in many forms. Canvases to admire, photographs to cherish, statuary to respect, and Texan metalsmith Dawna Gillespie creates stunning wearable art from metal. Dawna stated, “As a metalsmith, I hand-fabricate never-reproduced adornments to defy a world inundated with mass-produced accessories. Fabricated from flat sheets of raw copper and brass, my adornments take shape using a jeweler’s saw and techniques such as: piercing, patina, oxidation, etching, hammering, forming, forging, stamping, and cold-connecting. I use symbolism to share details of my soul through: the intensity of colors and texture, hand drawn designs and motifs, significance of scale, and rarity of the piece itself. Furthermore, the layering of motifs and shapes that I design are then manipulated and sawn to symbolize various aspects of my life; while examining the theories of femininity, fertility, domesticity, marriage, and sexuality. The result is a wearable artwork that is truly distinctive.”

Dawna Gillespie: Texas Metalsmith and Jewelry Designer Extraordinaire

Photos courtesy of Dawna Gillespie

The Texan artist creates body ornaments by layering metals together to form unique, one-of-a- kind pieces. Dawna never duplicates her work, and she will never generate mass production. Each piece is a guaranteed original. The person who wears her art won’t see the jewelry copied and sold to another soul. She believes no two pieces should be identical.

And speaking of soul, her motto is “From the soul—for the soul.”

Dawna exclaims, “When surveying society, there is a realization of the excessive need in identical and mass-produced accessories. Transcending the allure of simply adorning the body, my artwork consciously explores the illumination of personal presentation and facilitates an individual expression.

I truly believe that my pieces “connect” with the wearer and whenever a person places a piece of my art on their body, or in their home, our souls are forever joined through the energies of shared space and time.

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