Silversmith and lapidary artist Priscilla Walsen makes stone inlay jewelry, unique hollow forms, handmade “confetti” chains and three-dimensional pieces. She uses both traditional and modern metal working and lapidary techniques to create handmade jewelry, often in one-of-a-kind designs.
Priscilla is best known for her bold colorful stone inlay designs. Priscilla uses geometric shapes to create clean lines that complement the colors and patterns in the stone. A true lapidary artist, Priscilla starts with rough gemstone material, and then saws, grinds, sands and polishes each piece of stone. This time-intensive process includes slowly grinding the stone material to fit the final setting. Priscilla's jewelry is notable for its detailed textured surfaces and forms and for the careful attention paid to the final finish.
In addition to working with sterling silver materials using traditional silversmithing methods, Priscilla also works with fine silver metal clay. Fine silver metal clay is a malleable form of fine silver made from recycled silver. Her work with fused fine silver metal clay includes unique hollow forms and highly textured three dimensional designs.
Priscilla took her first silversmithing and metal shop classes while in high school and began studying lapidary arts in the 1990s. She founded SilverWear in 1997 after learning stone inlay techniques at Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, NM. In November 2006, her stone inlay work was featured in Lapidary Journal (Jewelry Artist) magazine. She also is a certified Precious Metal Clay (PMC®) Artisan by the Precious Metal Clay Guild.
Priscilla earned a B.A. in English from Princeton University. She creates her jewelry in her studio in Ojo Sarco on the historic High Road to Taos, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico.
Working at the jeweler's bench.
This is where the soldering and fusing happens.
This is the lapidary area of the studio. This is where the stone cutting, cabochon making and stone inlay work happens.
Priscilla has been a member of the High Road Artisans since 2007, and has served on its Board of Directors. The High Road Artisans is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the artists of the rural communities along the High Road to Taos in Northern New Mexico.
The High Road Artisans envisions a vibrant self sustaining community of artists who through cooperation bring a composite economic viability that is greater than the sum of its parts. Through enhanced cultural and educational opportunities, artists access resources that lead toward an independent economic future while sustaining and reviving traditional and contemporary artistic pursuits.
Priscilla has been recognized as a regional artist by the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage
Area. The mission of the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area is to sustain the communities, heritages, languages, cultures, traditions, and environment of Northern New Mexico through partnerships, education and interpretation. Their mission includes creating community and economic viability rooted in the heritage and the environment of the region. They support artists by promoting sales of art with the larger goal of furthering community economic development.