By Gina Malone
Nancy P. McAninch’s love of travel is reflected in her jewelry and, although home-sitting rather than jet-setting is the order of the day at present, there are places in her head that continue to inspire: “the stark lines of Alaskan mountains, ancient scrollwork on buildings in Prague and Ireland, and the amazing vistas of South Africa,” she says, to name a few. When travel is possible again, she hopes to set out from her home in Brevard for Peru and Antarctica.
Born in Atlanta, McAninch grew up in Fort Myers, FL, moving with her family to a small fishing village in Alaska when she was a teenager. “The only access was by boat or sea plane,” she says. “I spent a year there learning Inuit arts from the Elders, including skin sewing, beaded garments and jewelry.”
She came back to Florida to attend Rollins College, taking her first metalsmithing class there. “After that, there was no turning back,” she says. Back in Atlanta, she married and had two daughters while “taking every class, seminar and retreat I could manage,” she says. Her focus for years was on cloisonné enameling which she sold at Topaz Gallery in Atlanta’s Buckhead district.
Working with sea glass, for its “organic look and feel,” became a passion and one that involved the whole family. “After researching beach locations where sea glass could be found, my family spent many summers in Vieques, Puerto Rico collecting beautiful, weathered sea glass,” she says. Rather than wrapping the found glass in wire or drilling into it, she set the pieces in sterling silver bezels, thus “making this jewelry more elegant and upscale,” she says. Her work was juried into the American Craft Council show in San Francisco, CA.
“Now, my work has evolved into setting gemstones,” McAninch says. “I look for gems that have beautiful, saturated color. I work primarily in sterling silver and, occasionally, with high-karat gold. All my pieces start with sheet metal and wire. Everything gets fabricated from those supplies.”
Simplicity, elegance and wearability are hallmarks of her designs. “I don’t like jewelry that is difficult to wear, such as snagging on clothing or poking the skin,” she says. “I like jewelry that looks a bit understated.”
Her work may be found at Lucy Clark Gallery & Studio in Brevard. “There is a refinement in Nancy’s work that is such a gift,” says Lucy Clark, studio owner. “Meticulously handcrafting every single piece with an attention to detail that is truly beauty in motion to behold and wear. I am fortunate to be able to see her create and evolve as an artist with each piece that she brings to the table.”
Find the work of Nancy P. McAninch at Lucy Clark Gallery in Brevard. Contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.