I love antique and vintage jewelry and have always had a soft spot for charms. My favorites are fun, kitschy, and really capture something special about a place or time. That’s why they make such fantastic souvenirs and gifts!
I have a long list of charm ideas but for my first series, I decided to do something specific to Apalachicola. Oysters are synonymous with this town and there are many oyster charms in the world so I knew mine had to be unique! I also wanted to celebrate the “set up” as I learned it on the Forgotten Coast: Oyster gets splashed with a squeeze of fresh lemon, slid onto a Saltine and topped with Crystal hot sauce to taste.
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Now that I knew what I wanted to make, I had to figure out how to make it. I needed a talented wax carver and I wanted to work with someone who is easy to communicate with. Tara Magboo came to mind right away.
I’ve known Tara for a number of years and always thought it would be really cool to get to work together on a project - I knew this was the one. In her own line of jewelry she carves impossibly tiny characters under a microscope and adds color to them with enamel. She has an incredible eye for detail and a collaborative spirit, so she was almost as excited about this project as I was!
Artist Tara Magboo in her studio, in San Diego, CA.
To start our collaboration and to ensure that these charms felt like Apalachicola (and not just any waterfront town), I sent Tara photos of oysters being served locally and detailed shots of oyster shells from my collection. The bottle charm had to represent Crystal hot sauce, so I sent her photos of the bottle and she brilliantly interpreted the label without infringing on any copyrighted material.
Through phone calls and emails we hashed out the details of each charm. Tara created detailed sketches first then moved into the 3D realm carving waxes.
The cracker charm was probably my most favorite - I love the cheekiness of a common cracker being hand sculpted and created in precious metal and honestly I owe a bit of gratitude to that humble saltine cracker as it is the training wheel I needed to adjust my palette to the texture of raw oysters. I felt it was crucial to capture all of the details, the perforated edges, the salt crystals, the pillowy surface. Through phone calls, emails and sketches we hashed out the details of each charm.
She cast these green waxes into metal and added the final details to the metal “master” which was then used to create a silicone mold.
Once the sketches were finalized Tara carved the master for each charm in wax. Molds of each master were created and the charms are now cast from these molds. Once a charm is cast in metal it is cleaned, polished and served up fresh for you!
I hope you liked hearing a little more about how my Summer Charms are made!