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Rebirth as a metalsmith

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Loni Lichti-Fox, Silver Phoenix Designs, Alexander, is a new member of the Arkansas Craft Guild, having been juried at the 45th Annual Christmas Showcase in Little Rock Dec. 1-3, 2023.

Her jewelry combines polished gemstones with metals she fashions into pendants, rings, bracelets that can be purchased on her website, www.silverphoenixdesigns.com.


Loni writes: "As a young child I always had a creative side. My parents encouraged me to DIY and craft in many different mediums. By doing this I was never hesitant to try a new project; never afraid to fail. Early on I became interested in stones, fascinated with the different varieties and colors, I would spend hours cataloging them by name. On vacations my parents would patiently wait while I dug through every bin to fill my pockets with those tiny bags of treasures. I still have those bags of polished rocks and my father continues to bring me treasures from their trips."


"In 2015 I was on a date with my (now) husband. We were very early to the opening of a friends art installation so my husband suggested going to a gem and mineral show to kill some time. I don’t know if he thought I wouldn’t be open to the idea, but I was GAME! We ended up digging through all the boxes, comparing amazing stones, and talking about childhood treasures we had once found in the woods. I casually mentioned I had always wanted to learn silversmithing; but then forgot about it. That Christmas he gifted me some basic tools and even located classes at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock."


"I began my metalsmithing journey when I signed up for a beginner’s course to learn soldering at the Arkansas Art Center. It only took one class and I was completely hooked! I took as many classes as I could find, including Silversmithing, Metal Clay, Metals, Metal Casting, and Lapidary. After that I began learning new techniques through watching countless hours of training courses online plus my own trial and error. Of course, there were a lot of failures. I began to sell some of my early designs to friends and family as a means to practice and order more tools. I even bartered with other artists for our distinctive business logo design."


"In late 2017 I chose my business name Silver Phoenix Designs because the Phoenix is legendary as a magical bird constantly being reborn through fire - emerging from the ashes, radiant and shimmering, to start a beautiful new life. The Phoenix represents the idea that the end is only the beginning: a cycle of beauty; a reinvention of ourselves. Much of the metal used in my jewelry is recycled and all metal scraps are used to create flourishes for other projects. This way very little goes to waste. I thought to myself, what better way to represent the ART of metalsmithing? Bringing ordinary objects back to life by using fire to recreate and intensify nature’s beauty! I enjoy mixing all types of metals to create a wearable artform. I would describe my style as Midwest Boho Chic, since I combine varied styles from art-deco to a traditional western flair."

"I love unique stones and the combination of unique colors and designs, and prefer to let the cabochon tell me what it wants its "home" to be. My goal has always been to create unique, one-of-a kind pieces that utilize those distinctive stones I grew up loving. I like to allow these stones to speak to me, guiding me to fabricate the metal around them in order to create the piece of art that speaks to you. To me, it’s not just about creating a pretty piece of jewelry. It’s about the process of the piece ‘becoming’ more than what materials are used. That’s why it is a wearable artform."

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