“Repeated Meme Pendant 2” includes reclaimed 18k gold inlay. Photo credit: Mark Craig Photography
Metalsmith Andrea Williams says her work as an artist has been “a bit of a journey.” She was a teenager when she fell in love with metalworking. “I love how I can take this solid thing and make it move,” she explains.
Williams earned her B.A. in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and for a while made freeform metal jewelry. But there were other ventures, into cooking and into motherhood. Then, almost a decade ago when she was thinking about what to do next, returning to jewelry seemed right.
One day as Williams was walking on the beach, studying the sand and the stones, “the way the tide that had gone out aligned the stones,” she remembers, “and the water was shining on them.” It was at that moment she found her calling: turning humble beach stones into striking rings, earrings, pendants and necklaces, most with inlay of recycled gold or silver.
“I’ve always been constantly in touch with nature,” she says. “I live in the woods. I stack rocks for fun. I go to the beach three or four times a week. I find beauty in improbable places.” In her work, she tries to duplicate the patterns nature imprints on the stones. “I feel like the stone has its own voice in things. Each stone is different. It’s like a silent collaboration.”
Along the way Williams has won numerous awards: a 2012 NICHE Award, a 2012 Artists Award from the Society of Arts and Crafts, a 2011 Mort Abelson Scholarship from Revere Academy. Her work has been featured in Lark Books’ “Showcase 500 Art Necklaces” and national art magazines.
By making her work more widely available in craft galleries, Williams believes she can connect with people she’ll never actually meet. And that perhaps the very process of wearing a simple beach stone will become “a daily reminder of their connection to the earth.”