Patricia Weilbacher is a wonderful artist and friend who’s based in Arroyo Grande in the central California coast. A few months back, Patricia decided to have her enamel and silver work photographed. Though I’ve known her for many years, as I started opening boxes I realized that I hadn’t ever begun to see the depth or breadth of her jewelry designs.
Patricia tells me that her love of enameling stems in part “from its inherent unpredictability, because the colors sometimes take on a life of their own.” I, however, am convinced that real talent lies in the ability to see and take advantage of happy accidents. What follows is a tiny sampling of her of work.
“Life of the Butterfly” started during a class with superb enamelist and instructor, Margot Niederer. The assignment was to create a series of panels depicting the life of a tree. Patricia decided instead to illustrate the life cycle of the butterfly.
The work below, “Tree of Life” was inspired by a weekly drive Patricia makes from Arroyo Grande to Santa Barbara to take classes. That’s a real commitment. It’s a 160 mile round trip! There’s a “shortcut” past Lake Cachuma that’s stunning. Patricia says, “The lake is forever changing, especially in its colors. Even the land that surrounds it is a never-ending source of wonder.”
The beaded necklace below was also inspired by a class project, taught this time by the terrific artist Holly Gage. The class focused on Holly’s unique approach working fine silver metal clay in ways reminiscent of, and inspired by, a traditional silversmithing technique called repoussé.
Patricia so enjoyed the process and the resulting piece that she wanted to have it set in a beaded garden. So she turned to good friend and fabulous bead artist Sue McKechnie to craft such a necklace. Susan surrounded Patricia’s silver pendant with glass and silver wildflowers, beads and pearls. As you can see, the result of this collaboration is very special. Susan’s website is www.susanterese.com.
All of these pieces were created using fine silver.
This work was photographed in my Escondido, California studio with a Nikon D300 camera and 60mm micro lens. And much joy.