A bracelet is forever

West Tisbury artist Hannah Keefe makes permanent jewelry.

Hannah Keefe uses heat and solder to create a permanent bracelet. — Michael Cummo

CRFT SHW in Vineyard Haven hosted a series of Holiday events at their open studio at Five Corners. One such event featured artist Hannah Keefe making permanent jewelry. Ms. Keefe’s technique involves soldering gold and silver directly on an individual’s body – creating lasting bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Ms. Keefe, a Mass Art alum and West Tisbury native, lives and works in Los Angeles and collaborated with CRFT SHW co-owners Whitney Blank and Deanna deVries while she was in town for the holidays. Ms. Keefe demonstrated putting a permanent bracelet on Ms. Vries wrist by fitting the metal and protecting the wrist with leather to keep the area from getting hot.

After preparing the wrist, Ms. Keefe applies solder and uses a blow torch to heat the metal, adding a high-heat flux to keep the silver clean while reducing waste. She always works in a way that gives the flame the most distance from the skin and her participants are ready and willing. “People are self selected, it’s something they’ve decided they want to do.”

When she’s finished applying the jewelry she sands down the joint, but not too much so, “imperfections are a part of the look.”

“I wanted to create something very simple that could be worn everyday, that shows off the prettiness of the metal itself… It’s fun. That’s the real reason I started to do it.”

Ms. Keefe’s chainlink and solder jewelry is available exclusively on the Island at CRFT SHOW in Vineyard Haven. Her permanent jewelry is available by appointment, along with her additional work,  at IKO IKO, a Los Angeles based concepts gallery.