About the artist

Very few can see beauty and art in a piece of discarded electrical wire, but around the age of 13 Aileen Lampman saw something in the scraps her father left behind from his many household projects. Using his pliers, she bent, cut, twisted and then accented that otherwise useless material with some beads and her mother's dismantled vintage jewelry. Throw in the influence of fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and Voila!...this bored-out-of-her-mind country girl had definitely found her calling.

Her appreciation of metalsmithing unfolded in her junior year of high school when she was accepted to the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts at Bucknell University and majored in jewelry casting and fabrication. Studies of jewelry and metalsmithing continued as she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Edinboro University, studying under Sue Amendolora. Following graduation, Lampman apprenticed as a bench jeweler at A.U. Jewelers in Hershey and found the experience immensely rewarding. Here she was taught a variety of tasks to include stone setting, jewelry repair, fine soldering and wax carving along with clever, underground bench tricks. It provided her the opportunity to learn which tools aid in efficiently creating a quality piece as well as creative problem solving.

In 1997, while establishing her own company, Ai Jewelry, she remembered the valuable lessons her apprenticeship had taught her and concentrated on creating hand-fabricated pieces that would endure continued wear, but still evoke an artistic, unique quality (and maybe someday end up on the pages of Vogue!). Handcrafted from Sterling Silver, 14k gold, 14k gold filled wire and sheet, Aileen’s designs draw inspiration from leaves and flowers, landscapes and patterns to objects as small and insignificant as a ringlet of hair or a crack in a sidewalk. Shapely concave and convex forms serve as the basis of her designs and are accented by a combination of textures, highlights and overlapping patterns. Never one to take the small details for granted, she saws, hand-forms, hammers and solders each piece of flat metal that eventually evolves into a small sculpture to adorn the body. Polished highlights and the contrast of reflective on satin finish help to capture the movement and kinetic properties of her jewelry. Occasionally she’ll incorporate bezel-set stones into her work but Aileen explains; “I prefer the metal to be the main focus of each piece – it’s my first love and deserves to be noticed.” Not surprising, given that metal is in Lampman’s blood; her great-grandfather was a blacksmith and today she uses the very anvil that he once used to hammer out his ironwork.

Aileen lives and creates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her jewelry has been featured in the Sundance Catalog and was gifted through the city of Pittsburgh to President and Mrs. Obama and other world leaders at the 2009 G-20 Summit. AWARDS: "Best in Show", Art in the Park, Mt. Lebanon, 2010 "Jurors Choice", Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, 2011 "John C. Mason Excellence in Jewelry Design" Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, State College, 2011 Award of Merit, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, 2012 "Best in Jewelry", An Occasion for the Arts, Williamsburg, Va, 2013 "Juror's Choice", Three Rivers Art Festival, Pittsburgh, 2014 "John C. Mason Excellence in Jewelry Design" Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, State College, 2014 Third Place, Mount Lebanon Artists Market, Mt. Lebanon, 2014 "Best in Show", Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County, Bradenton, Fl "Best in Show", Mount Lebanon Artists Market, Mt. Lebanon, PA
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