Written by Sarah Wall
On Sunday, January 31, the beautiful Brooklyn Arts Center was filled with handcrafted jewelry and sculpture for the premier of Precious Metals. Renowned Wilmington metalsmith Mitzy Jonkheer helped create this event to showcase Wilmington’s thriving community of metalsmiths and jewelers. "I have been doing metalwork in this town for more than twenty years,” Jonkheer said, “and I've really watched it grow. I've seen an amazing group of metal artists, and I noticed that when I'd do Art for All that there were so many jewelry people, and I thought why not just get the cream of the crop and have this really amazing jewelry show. In most businesses, there seems to be a competition, but this community is really more of a brotherhood, and I felt like it would be a good idea to get a bunch of us together."
Jonkheer’s vision was a huge success. More than 700 people came out to see the spectacular work on display, and they were met with a wide variety of exceptional talent. Between the sculptures and jewelry made out of beads, leather, metals, enamel, and more, there was something at the show for everyone.
Cameron Johnson of CJ’s Sea Shop displayed an assortment of handmade enameled jewelry. Johnson said that she was from Emerald Isle originally, but after moving to Wilmington she “knew she was never leaving.” Johnson’s love of Wilmington was displayed in her jewelry—the blues and tans that made up many of her elegant pieces were reminiscent of the North Carolina coast.
Dumay Gorham’s sculptures were displayed throughout the BAC. A fierce copper dragon with an impressive wingspan sat on a table guarding the entrance and a sly fox with a bushy tale was perched on top of the piano. At his table, Gorham also had smaller welded sculptures of starfish and sand dollars. The artist said that for him, sculpting “started as a hobby that evolved into a full time job. I borrowed someone's welder to put together my first couple pieces and ended up getting a welder for Christmas back in 2000, and then it just kind of evolved from there." Now Gorham has been featured in an exhibition at Airlie Gardens called Guardian of the Garden, which is where his fox and dragon sculptures were originally displayed.
On the stage, Kevin Duval attracted the crowd’s attention with his fantastic and intricate moving sculptures. Duval said that his pieces are “fabricated, interactive, multi-axial, kinetic sculptures, which means that there's more than one moving part and you have to get them going in order for them to move. They're not powered by the wind or anything like that.” Duval’s sculptures were beautiful and colorful when still, but when someone spun them, they absolutely came to life.
The 65-degree weather made it the perfect day for people to go outside and enjoy the food provided by Catch the Food Truck. There were also liquid refreshments provided by the BAC Cash Bar and Lativa Coffee for the crowd to enjoy.
As guests left the church, hands full with their new jewelry, they expressed the same feeling: an excitement to come back and see Precious Metal next year.