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Style Magazine

Precious Metals

Apr 30, 2009 05:00PM ● By Super Admin

Most artists can’t dress up their wardrobe with their creations, but El Dorado Hills jewelry artist Lorrene Baum-Davis can, and does, and calls her work a walking business card.

Davis worked in the banking industry in Placerville for over 12 years, during which time she played with all art forms. Davis was trained as a goldsmith at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. After graduating, she opened the New Beginnings Gallery of Jewelry and Fine Art with her husband, Philip, in El Dorado Hills. The business was successful for 11 years, but in 2000 the Davis’ decided to close shop. “The money was good but I knew that if we were to grow, I needed more business acumen,” she says. “Money versus art – I chose art and I’ve never looked back.”

Davis then became a full-time jewelry designer, teacher and graphic artist. She decided to try a new medium after reading an article in a trade magazine. The article said that pure precious metals (gold and silver) were made into a fine powder dust, added to water and an organic material to become malleable. She says she was hooked because the clay responds similarly to porcelain clay in workability, and because ceramic clay was her passion as a child and young adult, this was “the best of all possible worlds.”

Davis fell in love with the polymers and metal clays in the ‘90s and immersed herself in these mediums. Eventually, she began teaching metal clay and polymer clay artistic techniques. Davis uses her ceramic skills by hand-building and pushing the silver metal clay into a mold, or forming it on a potter’s wheel. Once the item is dry, she spends 80 percent of her time sanding, filing, drilling, adding more clay, setting stones into the material, and then smoothing the high polish areas with special tools. At that point, she fires it in her kiln or with a handheld torch. Davis utilizes several finishing techniques, resulting in one-of-a-kind piece made from pure precious metals.

“The metal clay is forgiving and exciting, and it is something I love to teach,” Davis says. “When my students see the finished work that they have created, their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ pay me big emotional joy.”

Davis teaches monthly workshops at the Placerville Sierra Foothills Studio. She is also on the faculty of the Revere Academy as one of their metal clay instructors. Davis is one of seven Master Instructors in Art Clay Silver in the U.S., and travels to teach both metal clay and polymer clay workshops. In 2007, she published a book titled, Setting Gemstones in Metal Clay. As if that wasn’t enough, Davis hosts open studios once a month.

For more information about the artist, visit To reach Lorrene Baum-Davis, call 530-391-1969 or email [email protected].