Mary Forst

Metalsmith & Jeweler

The fascination I have with the significance of objects stems from my own history. Sentimental items collected throughout my life include bottles of lake water, dried flowers from my grandfather's funeral, and earlier items from childhood, such as outgrown clothing. These items have served to help me preserve a memory or emotion.

My practice is inspired by the inherent connections we have to what I call the “residual object.” Throughout history, items have been passed down through generations as keepsakes. These may include items that signify family wealth or one's social standing, such as a badge of honor. Material remnants left behind allow us to forge a dialogue between our past and the present. By incorporating and referencing bygone items in my work I hope to speak to the relationship between our humanity and the heirloom.

My use of the pearl, whether the form is fully realized, crushed, or abstracted, operates as a representation of my relationship to heirloom. Pearl, as a material, signifies a personal, sentimental value that describes a strong bond between generations of powerful women in my family. Utilizing this material and juxtaposing it with blackened steel allows me to honor these women while exploring my own my relationship to this bond.