“The most common response to my jewelry is amazement at the level of detail. My husband calls me “Picky Vickie” because I’m a bit obsessive about getting the details just right.”
Trained as a research scientist, Vickie Hallmark studied gold and silver for many years before returning to her birth name’s heritage of metalsmithing. During intensive studies with world-recognized Master Jeweler Ronda Coryell, who specializes in Argentium, Vickie immediately realized the unique possibilities of combining Argentium with metal clay components. Vickie is now a well known metal clay artist, combining her love of high tech materials with her artistic vision to create a line of original jewelry.
I grew up hearing stories about my surname, Hallmark, which is a quality mark on fine metals (and no, I’m not related to the Hallmark cards people, whose name is only Hall). My ancestors were supposedly silversmiths, which I always took to explain my attraction to jewelry.
For years, I just collected jewelry handmade by others and went my crazy scientist path. Eventually I burned out in the laboratory, and sought the studio instead. There, I explored fiber and then glass, but I still looked wistfully at metal. So I caved to the attraction, took a lot of classes from master jewelers, bought a lot of tools (continuing!) and started making the pieces I saw in my head. It feels like I’ve come home to what I’m supposed to do.
My jewelry is inspired by nature, by the flora in my central Texas garden and by the wildlife that visits the garden. I work predominantly in silver, particularly Argentium, as well as fine metal clays, and increasingly I add colorful gemstones as well. I start by hand sculpting small components such as birds, flowers and leaves in metal clay and kiln firing them to pure metal. Then I construct a base structure for the jewelry from Argentium silver, fusing as much as possible rather than soldering. Finally, each original vignette is painstakingly arranged and fused into place. I’m very detail oriented, so I tend to add layers of texture and surprises for the wearer.