Featured Artist Mary-Ann Wood of DinnerWear Jewelry

Finally catching up with Mary-Ann Wood after the Salem, New Hampshire Fine Art and Craft Show, Mary-Ann took some time from her schedule to talk to Brothers-Handmade about her work and her experiences. Mary-Ann's art form is very different from that of the jewelry we often see. Mary-Ann uses old dinner wear and very old cameos. We thought that alone qualified her to be on the pages of Brothers-Handmade. Besides that, her work is absolutely incredible.

Greetings Mary-Ann, and thanks for agreeing to our Featured Artist interview.

To start, please tell us about your primary Art interest?

I like to recylce old china plates that are broken, into wearable art such as pins, pendants, and great lariat necklaces. I don't use clasps but rather design them to be slipped over the wearer's head. They then can be adjusted to fit any neckline.

I have added a new line of cameos that are vintage as well. They are my latest passion, as I carve away the back rounds to silhouette them. I look for the most beautiful ladies from olden times and give them new life. Most are over 50 years old.

One day I looked at a cameo, and saw it as a shape I could work with, making the inside the outside. I also wanted to mount them in a contemporary way, they are a wonderful addition to the old plates that I work with. (Click images to enlarge)Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwear

How did you get started? Tell us about your journey in this art form.

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearMany children are fascinated with fancy dinnerware and tea sets, and I was no exception. I always wanted to help set the table for Sunday and holiday dinners with my grandmothers’ "best china" and silver. It was then I started my personal collection of china.

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearIn later years I started to play with cups and saucers in a different way. I had a lot of broken pieces, and wanted to do something with the pretty designs on them. Through a lot of trial and error, I taught myself how to cut the plates; carving out the bits I liked most. Not satisfied with simply making broken-looking chards, I concentrated on enhancing the intricate details of each pattern. I was hooked on the challenge!

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearSo there I was, with piles of beautiful little designs cut from my damaged china. But what to do with them? I decided to design them into wearable jewelry. This all started in 1997. My work has become more refined over the years, and my jewelry selection has steadily grown. I strive to add new items to the DinnerWear Jewelry collection, keeping it fresh.

Now I am always hunting for new patterns. I look for the most variety in floral motifs and color themes, and I want to represent as many countries as possible.

Have you won any awards, competitions, or recognitions for your Craft?

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearI have received a lot of press in newspapers and magazines. Also I have won 2 best of shows and many ribbons. I am grateful to be chosen to exhibit in juried shows all over the east coast.

What do you like best about your art form?

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearI like the challenge of working with new materials, and the creative process of designing. I love to take old items and re-purpose them- bringing the past to the present. The older the dinnerware is the more I enjoy it! I am always checking out the placement of the ridges, interesting borders, and cool looking cup handles.

What are your favorite pieces?

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearMy favorite pieces are usually the ones that I am carving custom from someone's broken heirlooms. I am very sentimental by nature, and I find it very rewarding.

What do you like doing when you're not creating in the studio?

Mary-Ann Wood dinnerwearI enjoy cooking, entertaining, and traveling.

We hope you have enjoyed our conversations with Mary-Ann Wood, Creative Dinnerwear Jewelry Artist. You can find more information on Mary-Ann Wood including show schedules and contact information here on her website.

Also, you can check out her video on this art form right here:

And remember, go to fine craft and arts shows and festivals, and to Brothers-Handmade.com, to:

"Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making"©

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