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Year of the Dragon Winners!




As we celebrate the Chinese New Year we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to every participant who contributed to the resounding success of our Year of the Dragon competition. This contest wasn't just a showcase of skill; it was a celebration of creativity, where the mythical dragon was brought to life through the magnificent medium of Argentium Silver.

 

We were truly overwhelmed by the number and quality of entries, each echoing the strength, grace, and spirit of the dragon. Selecting winners from such an extraordinary pool of talent was a formidable challenge, reflecting the high calibre of artistry within our community. Your ingenuity and craftsmanship have not only honoured the majestic dragon but have also carved new milestones in the realm of contemporary Argentium Silver artistry.

 

Thank you for igniting the flame of creativity and for your contributions that have elevated this competition to spectacular heights. The stories you've told and the emotions evoked through your work have been nothing short of inspiring.


First Place Winner

Elaine Venditti


Congratulations to Elaine Venditti, our first place winner. Elaine's journey in jewellery making began at the Maine College of Art, where she graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Over the years, while nurturing a family and assisting in her husband's business, Elaine continued to craft jewellery, albeit intermittently. Now, with her three sons grown, she has refocused her energy and passion on her craft.

 

Her discovery of Argentium silver marked a turning point in her artistic journey. Despite initial financial constraints preventing formal training, Elaine's resilience and dedication led her to master this unique metal through self-teaching. Today, she revels in the creative freedom and versatility that Argentium offers.


Elaine's dragon-themed piece is a testament to her skill and creativity. It encapsulates her journey of rediscovery in jewellery making and her newfound love for Argentium silver. We are delighted to showcase her work and thank her for the inspiration she brings to our community.

 

Discover more about Elaine and her work at her website www.tablejewelry.com



Accompanying her Year of the Dragon submission was the following statement:

"Chinese New Year heralds the year of the dragon. To celebrate I've created this female dragon. The appropriateness of her not only in my life but in the world is profound. 

 

So why and what does she symbolize…..

 

Let me start by explaining that every item I used in this piece was intuitively selected. The first thing I used was Argentium silver. Silver is the metal of the feminine, Luna. Because of its bright and clean appearance it is said that it reflects our souls as others see us. It represents purity and clarity of vision. It is said to bring balance and healing into our lives along with patience and protection. 


I had a very specific vision for this piece and it is one of the few times I had a specific stone, shape  and pattern cut for my design. 

 

Palm Root was my choice for her. I wanted to represent fire in a subtle way through its pattern. Fire is powerful, transformative and cleansing. Palm Root is grounding, calming, healing it also brings protection and luck. 

 

To accent the palm root I choose champagne colored diamonds. All diamonds  symbolize strength, clarity, endurance and eternal love. Champagne color also brings us order and stability. 


The eye of the dragon has a black diamond. Black is the absorber of other energies. I placed it as the eye so that it can ‘see’ evil and absorb it thus rendering it useless all while the dragon is giving its wearer protection. 

 

May the New Year bring all that the dragon offers us along with many blessings and peace"

 

Congratulations Elaine, your piece is outstanding. As the first place winner, you will receive a £250 Argentium voucher and workshop apron.


Second Place Winner

Cora Baillie


Cora makes jewellery from solid sterling silver wire and sheet, semi-precious gems, and her own handmade glass beads. These individually handmade jewellery pieces are crafted using glass- and metal-working techniques and tools that haven’t changed much since the Middle Ages. Discover more about Cora and her work at her website www.jewellerybycorazon.com



Taniwha are the dragons of Māori mythology said to live in deep pools, rivers, dark caves and the ocean. They can cause earthquakes and tidal waves, although if they are respected and revered, they help their people. The word Taniwha also means powerful creature, chief, powerful leader, something or someone awesome.

 

My Argentium Taniwha is inspired by an ancient Māori rock drawing in a limestone shelter in the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, near where I live. The image was used on a postage stamp which I had in my stamp album.


She is called Aotea (Māori for white cloud) for her eye of aotea pounamu (generally regarded as a feminine stone), a rare type of pounamu (greenstone) unique to South Westland, which is set with 9ct gold ‘eyelashes’ to reflect the goldmining in the same area after the arrival of European colonists. She has 9ct gold claws, too.

 

She showed her water affinity shortly after her first outing on my shirt, by a trip through the washing machine – with no ill effects, maybe a little more shine

 

Congrats goes out to Cora and her mythical dragon, Aotea. As a second place winner, Cora receives a £150 Argentium Voucher and workshop apron.


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