Brigid O’Hanrahan's Collection

Brigid O’Hanrahan

"I was at San Francisco State (a chemistry major) and I started making earrings in the form of electron clouds, made from wire and beads. I sold my first earrings at Nannys, a great jewelry store on lower Grant. Later I met Sammy Gee, who had a jewelry shop on upper Grant and he showed me how to work with lost wax and casting. When I moved to Los Angeles, I started taking metals classes at Cal State Northridge and completed a masters in metals (both jewelry and objects) with Arline Fisch at San Diego State.

I loved teaching metals, especially beginning classes, but after teaching almost 30 years I was ready to let someone else bring their ideas to the students. At this point in my life I want to focus on my own work.

My favorite assignment was the first one. It was to saw out something no larger than 2 x 3 inches in any direction that ‘looked right’ without drawing on the metal. They were to make it into a pin or key-chain ornament using sawing, filing and soldering and wear it when leaving class – and they were great!

In the process of learning about working with metal I have been interested in and learned to use lots of processes – photoetching, electroforming, working with lathes, milling machines, computer operated machines – and what I enjoy (maybe value is a better word) the most are hand processes like sawing, filing, soldering, hammering, sanding. I like to make translucent porcelain sake cups (and other things) because I think of the people who will have a conversation while holding them and sipping something – sake, tea, whatever. I want to make opportunities for conversations to happen because I want to have more conversations myself, something I usually feel awkward doing."