Inspired by Victorian mourning jewelry, Tricia Harding created a series of brooches she calls Traces that compel the wearer to recall events burned in memory. Harding roller prints eyelet lace onto copper plates, a process that destroys the lace, then packs red enamel into the impression left behind.
The brooches make me think of the bits and pieces of lace from my grandmother’s collection that I keep rolled up in a cup on my studio table for inspiration. I’m intrigued by the idea of a more permanent way to honor her and the many hours she spent sewing for her family.
After receiving her BFA from University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Harding honed her skills working for several years as an assistant to a goldsmith, eventually returning to school to obtain her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. It was there that she developed a “deep awareness of nature and its inherent geometry, and a love of making, both as a pleasurable practice and as an expression of sincerity.”
At the same time, she learned how to use botanical elements as a metaphor for human emotions – a concept she explores in the Nurture series using sterling silver, copper, enamel, 14k gold, diamonds, sapphires and resin to communicate comparisons between positive and negative, tangible and intangible. Read the artist’s statement about Nurture below.
Roots, branches, veins, and nerve endings intertwine to convey thoughts of growth and sustenance. They also ensnare and smother. The slick and luscious surface of ruby enamel is an idealized interpretation of our body’s interior and an expression of visceral emotion. Flowers, fruit, and seedpods symbolize the fertile and nourishing aspects of life along with the ephemeral nature of our vitality. By making comparisons between positive and negative, tangible and intangible, I hope to evoke the physical essence of an abstract human desire.