I was on a mission to find scraps of wood and iron for a project, so I returned to two of my favorite haunts, Gilmer Wood Company and Royal Oak Metal Craft. As an interior designer I had been to both years before to have custom-fabricated furniture made for my high-end clients. On this day I was like a shaman, living my life in reverse, as I was there to mine for industrial by-products. I wasn't looking for a quote on a fancy coffee table or a custom spiral staircase. I wanted the good stuff in the recycling bin.

By pairing the fine, such as silver and gold, with what might be considered trash, I give these discarded goods a new life. Inspired by my love of tradition in craft and a pursuit of discovery through creation, I fabricate functional objects, such as flatware, holloware and jewelry. I am interested in how these objects relate to the body and the tension they engender between the personal and the universal.

I also investigate how traditional processes, such as raising, forging and soldering, can work in tandem with contemporary practices, including 3-D printing and laser welding. In my practice I address the necessity for sustainable, ethically-sourced materials. Part of my growth as a maker has involved educating myself about fair trade, conflict-free, and refined or recycled jewels and metals.

My work utilizes a variety of materials to elevate the ordinary, be it a spoon or a broom, and it plays with the questions: Why do we make things and why does it matter?

After studying and working in the fields of fashion design, interior design and architecture, Laura Mapes found in silversmithing a vocation that allows her to experience a deeper connection with craft. Through her practice Laura has developed a keen sense of materials, from fiber to salt and wood to silver, as well as a dedication and desire to see how things are made. Her work is a reflection of her diverse creative experiences, grounded in a refined sense of material and how they come together in the pieces she creates. In 2014 Laura was granted the Student NICHE award for her neck piece in the jewelry fashion category, as well as being nominated for the Windgate Fellowship. She has participated in several juried student shows, was awarded the student commission for Oregon College of Art and Craft's annual fundraiser Art on the Vine, and received honorable mention at the Hoffman Gallery for her works Tea and Sugar. Laura is a studio designer at Alchemy, a fine-art jewelry gallery in Portland, Oregon. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in metalsmithing from Oregon College of Art and Craft.

Where to Buy

Work is not available for sale through the SNAG website. Please contact the artist directly to inquire about making a purchase.