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LEAVES WITH DEW #2 bracelet of fourteen and eighteen karat yellow, rose, white, and green gold and diamonds, 2010.

Ben Dyer

Poetry in Gold




“I am inspired by the vitality of life, the spark I see everywhere in the natural world. I believe that all forms exist in the unknown and when inspired we bring those forms into thought, design and physical reality.”

The first day of the American Craft Council Show in Atlanta was busier than expected. The room bustled with devoted craft fans adorned in their most colorful and extravagant handmade wares, as well as with happy garden clubbers wandering over from the adjacent Southeastern Flower Show carrying Home Depot bags and tall outdoor torches. Amid the friendly chaos, Ben Dyer’s booth remained an oasis of calm. Within his well-lit sphere, his elegantly understated gold earrings, rings and necklaces radiated a warm glow, and Dyer’s soft voice provided confident assessments of which earrings best complemented potential customers’ haircuts and facial features. Even as two enthusiastic gallery dealers hurriedly decided on the details of a large order before a rush-hour race to the airport, Dyer continued to be a gentle, steady force, methodically polishing each item handled and providing thoughtful, practical suggestions.

Dyer lives in Hillsborough, a historic town in central North Carolina, and prefers his quiet home to the crowded craft fairs. “Really I like my private life in my studio. Even in my little town, I’ve wanted to keep myself private to some degree.” He enjoys gardening and walking in the woods, and his interest in the natural environment subtly permeates his work. He strives to keep his studio ecologically friendly, using recycled gold, handtools and techniques that do not require chemicals. His studio is in town, but a large picture window looking out into a wooded area helps him maintain the aura of a rustic, isolated setting.




Ashley Callahan
Ashley Callahan is an independent scholar and curator in Athens, Georgia, with a specialty in modern and contemporary American decorative arts. She has written books and curated exhibitions on sisters Ilonka and Mariska Karasz, Hungarian-born modern designers based in New York, and Henry Eugene Thomas, a Colonial Revival furniture craftsman from Athens. She currently is conducting research for a book on the history of chenille fashion for the University of Georgia Press. She interviewed jeweler Ben Dyer at the American Craft Council Atlanta Show for this issue and is preparing for more articles to be published here.




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