Move that Jewelry! Kinetic Jewelry Workshop with Sarah Doremus

by Metalwerx on July 29, 2011

In Sarah Doremus’ short video, the hand at the end of the putty-pink plastic arm commands you. As the hand silently rotates, palm cupped in a warm ‘hello,’ slender fingers pointing heavenward, one feels comforted by–and in obeisance to– its approving gesture. It is the Queen Elizabeth wave, enveloping all in an imposing, loving embrace.

Queen Elizabeth Wave ring, Sarah Doremus

Okay, it’s just a pinkie ring with a tiny doll’s arm attached to it. But the mechanism that gives the sculpture its lifelike action is nothing less than a little machine. A miniature wheel and cog, along with telescoped tubing and a crank, set the royal hand in motion. The “Queen Elizabeth Wave Ring” is a classic Doremus work of kinetic jewelry art.

Queen Elizabeth Wave ring, detail

Sarah likes to mix word games and visual puns to her movable jewelry. Her work is a tongue-in-cheek play on the “collective, angst-ridden human condition,” in which people have come to adorn themselves with cell phones, MP3 players, and other electronic equipment. Her functional, movable jewelry, she says, “questions this norm by functioning in a way that is both absurd and completely unnecessary.”

Self-Fanning ring, Sarah Doremus

Sarah’s work spins, expands, twists, rolls, inflates, pops, and some pieces even work for you. Spinach stuck between your teeth? One ring conceals a roll of dental floss.  Hot under the collar? Turn on the Self Fanning Ring. Too busy to keep your sterling silver shiny? No problem. Her self-polishing bracelet includes a swatch of scouring pad both under and over the piece, scraping away tarnish as it revolves.

Self-Congratulatory Ring, Sarah Doremus

Using rivets, hinges, ball bearings, springs, cranks, cogs and more, Sarah will share her secrets for making movable rings, bracelets, and necklaces in a three-day workshop at Metalwerx, “Kinetic Jewelry,” August 17-19. The class will also address the aesthetics and techniques for putting together found objects, primarily through cold connections. With the volatile metals market these days, using alternative materials like fabric, patinaed copper, plastic—or doll parts—can add interest and save money. It’s a great option for jewelers who don’t always have access to a torch (there will be soldering in the class).

Found Object Rings, Sarah Doremus

“It’s a fun trick, figuring out ways to connect things without using heat,” she says. “There’s a lot of things you can do to connect things that are not heat or rivet related. You’re limited only by your imagination.” Although the work pictured here is rings, you can see more of of her wonderful kinetic jewelry at Sarah Doremus Jewelry and Sculpture.

Dental Floss Dispenser ring, Sarah Doremus

Sarah studied sculpture at the Massachusetts College of Art, focusing on small metal. She didn’t really see jewelry as metal sculpture until 2003, when she got a job as a studio assistant at Metalwerx. The school was in the midst of a transition from Woburn to its permanent home in Waltham. Sarah helped build some of the furniture in the classroom and cooperative studio area. “I began to use the tools there, and my sculpture just became small, and ostensibly wearable.”

Dogwalk Necklace, Sarah Doremus

Lincoln Vacillates, necklace by Sarah Doremus

Sarah’s work is not only wearable, but resonates with puns, social commentary, and political satire. Her imaginative and unique pieces can be seen in the Blue Heron Gallery of Deer Isle, Maine, the Ogunquit (ME) Museum of American Art, and is currently featured in the “Visionary Metal” exhibit at the Cape Fear Studios gallery in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Dieter's Spoon, Sarah Doremus

Students are encouraged to bring their favorite hand tools and palette of found objects. The class is aimed at advanced beginners. There are still seats available for Kinetic Jewelry. Sign up online at or call Metalwerx at 781-891-3854 to register by phone.

Slam Dunk Martini, by Sarah Doremus

                                                                                                                                                                –by Yleana Martinez



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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Suzanne July 31, 2011 at 1:56 am

I really love that Dieter’s Spoon, very clever What does that say about me!

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