Dumbarton House Commission

Dumbarton House in Washington, DC, is commissioning works from a handful of jewelers and metalsmiths, to have been inspired by something in their collection. The project was envisioned by Scott Scholz, the Deputy Director & Curator. The pieces will be exhibited along with their inspirational counterparts this fall at the historical house and then auctioned as a fundraiser.

I was honored to have been invited to contribute to the project. It is a great opportunity to try something new and stretch out a bit. After the significant struggle of choosing an inspirational piece from the large decorative arts collection, I settled on a linen and Point de Gaze needle lace handkerchief from the first half of the nineteenth century. The drawing above is of the necklace that I have proposed to make. It combines various decorative elements from the handkerchief and will also be featuring a white-on-white palette of fine silver and mother-of-pearl. I have never used mother-of-pearl and can see a lot of riveting in my future! I purchased several “large” sheets (1.2 x 2”) from a custom luthier supplier. Luthiers, pronounced ˈlo͞otēərs, I learned, are makers of any form of stringed instruments. The finished piece will also incorporate the techniques of piercing, hydraulic die forming and chasing and repoussé.