Brenda Smith’s Printemps Necklace

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Learning Curves

A look behind the design of Brenda Smith's three-dimensional flower necklace

By Tina Snyder

You’ll find a sketch pad and pencil on Brenda Smith’s nightstand so she can capture the inspiring visions that appear in her dreams. The idea for the “Printemps” (French for “springtime”) necklace came to the Woodstock, Georgia–based designer in her slumber—and ended up becoming what she refers to as the first “serious piece of metalsmithing” she ever made.

“I had a dream about this flower necklace,” she recalls. “I knew it had to be three-dimensional with lots of contrast and texture, and the challenge for me was to make the metal look organic.”

Reminded of the statues she admired while touring the Vatican in Rome, where the fabric robes made of marble undulated and flowed so naturally, she wanted to capture that same organic movement in metal. Opting for sterling silver for the finished piece, she began sketching the necklace from every angle and then crafting a paper model from manila folders.

Once satisfied with her paper model, she moved to copper to experiment with the fabrication of the petals and leaves, ruffling the edges of the petals by forging them against steel blocks to spread the metal out.

Brenda Smith
Brenda Smith Jewelry, Woodstock, Georgia