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Arts on CityPlace

Area artists, crafts people
to exhibit at La Grange show

Jewelry maker Wiseman learned
her craft by taking class

Arts on CityPlace

• 10-5 Saturday; 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday at CityPlace, 112 S. First St., La Grange
• Presented by the Arts Association of Oldham County
• (502) 222-3822

LA GRANGE, Ky. (November 2018) – Jewelry artist Josie Wiseman has been creating her unique gold and silver jewelry since 1993. No two pieces are ever exactly the same, setting her work apart and ensuring a quality piece for whomever purchases it.
She became interested in making jewelry because “I love jewelry, particularly handmade jewelry.” She said, “My daughter, then 14 (now 42) and I saw an ankle bracelet she liked and wanted. I knew where we could buy the same beads, a small, now defunct store in St. Matthews, so we went and bought enough beads for half a dozen bracelets. It was such fun we wanted to keep going.”
The next step in Wiseman’s jewelry career was to take a silversmithing class at the Louisville Visual Arts Association. “It was several years before we started trying to sell our work. My daughter kept on with the beads for a while, while I did silver work.”
Wiseman will be one of more than 70 juried artists participating in the seventh annual Oldham Arts on CityPlace Fall Arts Show on Nov. 10-11 at the CityPlace Expo Center, 112 S. First St. in La Grange, Ky. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Wiseman, 71, took additional classes in North Carolina, California and Mexico. In her work she uses “a lot of natural forms.” She makes her own molds from natural items such as leaves, bark, calyxes, or from pieces of antique or found manufactured handles, stamps, etc. that she has collected over time.

Photo provided

Jewelry maker Josie Wiseman will take part in the Arts on CityPlace, now entering its seventh year in La Grange, Ky.

Early in her career, Wiseman decided to add fine silver clay to her materials. It is a real metal, fine silver, which has been ground to micro grains and mixed with a non-toxic binder (fine granules) and water to make clay.
After drying, it is baked in a kiln, just like clay, but when it emerges from the kiln the binder has burned away leaving pure silver metal. To Wiseman, “it’s like magic!” Prior to firing, the jewelry can be rolled, sculpted, stamped, sanded, filed and engraved.
For embellishment, the artist carefully looks for stones “that would look good being used a certain way.” She handsets every stone in fine silver or 14 karat gold. Each piece is designed, cut formed, soldered and polished by Wiseman.
“I love the metal work and love to create new designs with different stones,” said Wiseman. After buying “a pair of handmade earrings at a show, I decided I wanted to be able to make some like that. So I have kept on with silverwork of all kinds and do four or five shows a year usually.”
Oldham Arts on CityPlace features regional and national artists who will have various handcrafted items for sale, including paintings, pottery, jewelry, photography, sculpture, wood and glass creations, soaps and lotions, candles and mixed media.
The Arts Association of Oldham County decided to hold this indoor juried arts and crafts show at a time of year when there are many bazaars and craft shows, but few juried events.
“The CityPlace venue and parking is very popular,” said organizer and association member Marion Gibson. “The quality of the artists has improved every year.”
Artists come from as far away as Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri, in addition to the many local participants, Gibson said. The artists enjoy “a great hot breakfast, lots of buyers and great treatment from our staff.”
She went on to comment that Wiseman crafts “quality work with sterling and stones.” For such an artist to jury into one of the Arts Associations shows, they must create “unique, quality one-of-a-kind pieces.”
All these years later, “we both still enjoy making jewelry,” Wiseman said of what began as a hobby for both her and her daughter. “My daughter lives in Virginia and sells only a bit online since she doesn’t have time to do shows. But she still takes classes, as do I.”
Of her artwork, Wiseman said, “Not many people do the kind of work I do any more. I look around at other shows and the products look pretty much alike. All of mine are made by hand. I try to make them special.”
Wiseman, who has resided in Oldham County for more than 40 years, said that when she started making silver jewelry, “lots of folks were making hand-set cabochon jewelry, and at wholesale gem shows there were lots of interesting cabs to be found. Now most shows have mostly beads, which are easy to make jewelry with; so popular, and popular with buyers. You see fewer jewelers making handmade settings, as I still do.”

At the CityPlace show, “there are several other very good jewelers who do some of the same type things that I do, but we all do many different things with our silver and stones so our work is all different.

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