Artist creates distinctive pieces of jewelry

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

North Shelby Artist Nancy Hammond smiled with the pride of a new mother, showing me a case filled with her wearable art, and more jingling on her wrist. Hammond was a potter for more than 15 years.

In 2003 she discovered silver clay, a malleable form of the metal, and began creating unique pieces of jewelry from her imagination. She explained the process.

“I use silver clay with silver paste, which holds layers of the metal together to form each piece. Then it’s placed into a kiln and fired to remove binders. It’s refined.”

Hammond fingered a lovely necklace, a prime example of her creativity.

This silver piece brought to mind Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night.” The silver pendant is a round disk embossed with many perfect stars.

The silver chain was threaded through tiny semiprecious stone beads.

“My creative thinking comes in the morning,” Hammond said. “It’s all through my imagination. Sometimes I sketch a plan.”

This artist uses silver and copper-considered precious metals by some-and only semiprecious stones, such as lapis, coral, turquoise, and fresh water pearls.

“The price of silver has been following that of gold, getting more expensive,” said Hammond.

Hammond is a member of the National League of American Pen Women, the oldest arts organization in the U.S., supporting writers, composers, and artists, and whose members have included the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl Buck and Eudora Welty.

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Hammond exhibits at Alabama Designer Craftsmen’s Fine Craft Classic, which will be coming again November 14-15 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Also, her work was shown at the recent Deerwood Lake art event.

Hammond enjoys a variety of media.

“I’ve always been creative, even as a child,” she said. “I still take classes in anything offered. Next I’d like to try glass beads. In the past I’ve worked with tile and mirrors, used neon in glass tubes on mirrors. Those were sold at a gallery in Atlanta.”

Hammond’s distinctive quality work can be purchased at Artist Incorporated, a gallery founded by a group of artists 10 years ago in a renovated dairy barn, the oldest building in Vestavia Hills.

It’s located on Morgan Drive off Rocky Ridge Road.

This gallery represents some of Birmingham’s finest artists, including Frank Fleming, Troy and Becky Crisswell, Pat Dicas and Nancy Hammond.

Gladys Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at