Hidden Gems


>> By John Devitt

Fall 2012, Issue 30

Tucked away in a corner of the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre, Dana Cloghesy’s Vivid Designs, is quiet and unassuming. However, the jewellery produced here and on display is anything but.

Sparkling gemstones adorn silver wire and metal clay pieces and are displayed on a soft black velvet tabletop that gleams in the studio light and catches the eye.

Working primarily with silver wire and metal clay, Dana’s artistic Journey began at the Kootenay School for the Arts in Nelson, where she studied for two years. While studying Dana developed a passion for goldsmithing and quickly excelled. But she soon married and started a family, which led her passion to take a back seat in place of her new family.

It was not until moving to Revetstoke from Wasa, B.C. in 2005 that her passion was renewed.

Dana began creating silver wirework with gemstone beads while teaching herself new skills she would need along the way. Her pieces were for sate at the Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop and were seen decorating friendly faces throughout Revelstoke.

Dana loved being involved with jewellery-making again but missed working with metal. A self-professed tactile person, Dana found a medium that integrated earth and metal and that was the day everything clicked into place.

As goldsmithing was cost prohibitive with a young family, Dana discovered metal clay. Participating in a workshop at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna she made one ring and was hooked immediately.

Metal clay is a medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver—Dana’s medium of choice . This clay can be shaped just like any soft day and then fired in a kiln, leaving only the pure sintered metal.

“I love the medium,” says Dana. “It responds in a lot of the same ways as sheet metal but the speed which you can make things with and the textured effects you can generate are way better.”

Since that one ring she made years ago Dana has been actively crafting and was offered a studio at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre in 2009. Today her work can be found at the Art First Gallery on First Street in Revelstoke, the annual Reveistoke Handmade Parade,

Carosella Gifts in Fernie, B.C. or any number of artisan shows throughout the Kootenays.

Dana’s work is distinct, integrating silver wire, metal clay, gemstone beads and even Dichroic glass, a special material NASA uses to heat shield space shuttles. The glass causes colours to shift depending on the angle of view, often creating drastic and striking changes in the appearance of the piece.

Creating new pieces is all-consuming for Dana. “It’s a constant thought process for me. As soon as I lay down to go to sleep I am instantly thinking of what I can make, what I can do with the materials. I will never get stuck in a rut, that’s for sure!”

With endless creativity it’s hard to believe Dana will not be able to complete all the pieces of jewellery she is dreaming of. But for now she is focusing on developing her workshop series along with her portfolio and a website to showcase her work. During all these projects she will continue making handcrafted beautiful works of art that will enhance even more friendly faces throughout the Kootenay region.

See Dana’s website at vividdesignsjeweller.com